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North, South Korea Reach Agreeement on Talks - 2001-10-30

South Korea says it agrees to meet with the North at an East Coast mountain resort in North Korea. The announcement might help to get troubled inter-Korean talks back on track. South Korea had been insisting cabinet-level talks scheduled for October 28 be held in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, or a location nearby, as earlier agreed. But Southern officials relented when the dispute over where to meet kept the talks from starting at all.

Inter-Korean talks resumed last month, after a six-month freeze resulting from tensions between Pyongyang and South Korea's main ally, the United States.

At that time, officials in Seoul expressed hopes the two Korea's were moving toward eventual reconciliation. They were particularly pleased the two sides agreed to resume reunion of families separated for decades by strife on the Korean Peninsula. However, their optimism was tempered when North Korea suddenly put off the brief family gatherings. This time, the North abruptly demanded the location of cabinet-level talks be changed to the Kumgang Mountain Resort in North Korea. The resort is part of a financially-troubled tourism project involving both nations.

South Korea wants to talk about rescheduling contacts, including the postponed family reunions.

North and South Korea fought a costly and bitter civil war in the early 1950's that resulted in a tense, armed truce - not a peace treaty - leaving the two heavily-armed nations technically at war.