North Korea on Tuesday agreed to meet with South Korea this week for talks on further reunions of families separated by the inter-Korean border and flood prevention on border rivers, the Unification Ministry in Seoul said.
Pyongyang’s agreement to the South Korean proposals came despite North Korea’s test-firing of five short-range missiles Monday.
North Korea wants to hold the meetings on both issues at the Koreas’ joint industrial park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.
The first meetings in two years of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War took place two weeks ago, and South Korea’s Red Cross sent a letter Monday to its counterpart in the North proposing a meeting Friday on organizing more reunions.
The South’s government also on Monday proposed holding discussions Wednesday on preventing flooding on the Imjin River after a discharge from a North Korean dam in September swept away and killed six South Korean campers on the river.
North Korea agreed to the proposed dates, the Unification Ministry said.
The talks were due to be held after rising tensions between the two neighbours in the first half of this year following North Korea’s second nuclear test, a series of missile launches and threats against the South.
Relations began to improve in August as the Stalinist North again approached its neighbour.
Officials in Seoul told South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that Pyongyang’s latest provocations would not affect this week’s discussions.
Besides launching the five missiles Monday, North Korea appeared to be preparing to launch further short-range rockets, Yonhap reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed SouthKorean source.