World News

2 Koreas to Hold Talks Sunday in Panmunjom

North and South Korea have agreed to a date and venue for talks on a pair of stalled joint commercial projects.

South Korea's Unification Ministry says Pyongyang agreed on Saturday to meet Sunday at the truce village of Panmunjom in the heavily-guarded Demilitarized Zone separating the two foes.

Pyongyang unexpectedly offered Thursday to discuss the possible re-opening of the Kaesong industrial complex, a jointly run factory north of the border that was shuttered in April amid heightened tensions. It also proposed discussing the resumption of cross-border tours to the North's Mount Kumgang resort. South Korea halted visits there after the 2008 shooting death of a South Korean tourist by the North's troops.

Seoul responded by calling for ministerial-level talks in Seoul, but the North termed that premature and called for lower level discussions.

Talks between the two sides would mark a major reversal of tensions on the peninsula, which had been at their highest state in decades.



The North's statement Thursday said said humanitarian issues, such as the resumption of separated Korean families, can be discussed, "if necessary." It also promised to reconnect a severed communications hotline with Seoul at the Panmunjom truce village, if the South agreed to the talks.

Korean relations sank to their lowest level in years following Pyongyang's rocket launch in December and nuclear test in February, moves that led to expanded United Nations sanctions against the North.

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