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North Korea Offers Dates for Talks With South


A North Korean soldier looks at the southern side through telescopes at the border village of the Panmunjom, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010.

A North Korean soldier looks at the southern side through telescopes at the border village of the Panmunjom, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010.

North Korea is renewing its call for unconditional talks with South Korea and is proposing they be held later this month or in early February.

In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency Saturday, North Korea also said it would reopen an office for inter-Korean economic cooperation at the Kaesong industrial park that it closed during a time of high tensions last year.

The statement from the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said there were no conditions to the offer and no need for South Korea to doubt the North's real intention.

North Korea made a similar offer earlier this week, but South Korea rejected the proposal, saying North Korea was "not serious."

South Korea's Unification Ministry said Thursday that the North has used similar statements for propaganda purposes in the past. A spokeswoman said the North should honor the commitments it made in 2005 to give up its nuclear weapons program.

There have been no six-party talks with North Korea since 2009. Since then, the North has shelled a South Korean island, unveiled a highly-advanced nuclear enrichment facility, and been accused of sinking a South Korean ship, killing 46 sailors.

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