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North Korea agrees to hold talks with South

Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon.   | Photo Credit: AFP

North Korea agreed on Friday to hold official talks with the South next week, the first in more than two years, hours after the United States and South Korea delayed a military exercise. South Korea said the North had sent its consent for the talks to be held on Tuesday. The last time the two Koreas engaged in official talks was in December 2015.

The meeting will take place at the border truce village of Panmunjom where officials from both sides are expected to discuss the Winter Olympics, to be held in the South next month, and other inter-Korean relations, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told reporters.

North Korea asked for further negotiations about the meeting to be carried out via documented exchanges, Mr. Baik said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un opened the way for talks with South Korea in a New Year’s Day speech in which he called for reduced tensions and flagged the North’s possible participation in the Winter Olympics.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in announced on Thursday that annual large-scale military drills would now take place after the Olympics.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang welcomed North and South Korea “taking positive steps to improve ties”, and said the postponement of the military exercises was “without doubt a good thing".

Earlier this week, Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, said Washington had heard reports that Pyongyang might be preparing to fire another missile.


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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 8:01:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/north-korea-agrees-to-hold-talks-with-south/article22378188.ece

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