News / Asia

North, South Korea Agree to Hold More Talks

The head of North Korea's delegation Kim Song Hye, center, shakes hands with South Korean delegate Kwon Young-yang, right, upon their arrival for a meeting at the southern side of Panmunjom, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, June 9, 2013. (Photo released by S. Korean Unification Ministry)The head of North Korea's delegation Kim Song Hye, center, shakes hands with South Korean delegate Kwon Young-yang, right, upon their arrival for a meeting at the southern side of Panmunjom, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, June 9, 2013. (Photo released by S. Korean Unification Ministry)
x
The head of North Korea's delegation Kim Song Hye, center, shakes hands with South Korean delegate Kwon Young-yang, right, upon their arrival for a meeting at the southern side of Panmunjom, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, June 9, 2013. (Photo released by S. Korean Unification Ministry)
The head of North Korea's delegation Kim Song Hye, center, shakes hands with South Korean delegate Kwon Young-yang, right, upon their arrival for a meeting at the southern side of Panmunjom, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, June 9, 2013. (Photo released by S. Korean Unification Ministry)
After marathon discussions, South Korea has conceded to a demand from the North that dialogue to be held in Seoul this week not be termed ministerial talks - as Seoul had earlier announced.

For the first time in years, officials of the rival governments sat face-to-face at the truce village of Panmunjom. Their talks throughout Sunday and early Monday stretched over a period of 18 hours.

After the conclusion of the marathon talks at  Freedom House on the southern side of the Joint Security Area, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk in Seoul read a brief statement but took no questions from reporters.

Kim said both sides agreed to call the upcoming meeting an “inter-governmental talk,”  to discuss issues that should be resolved as soon as possible, such as the resumption of two stalled inter-Korean ventures in the North: the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Mt. Keumgang tourism complex.

Kim said they also agreed they would discuss resuming meetings of separated families on the peninsula.

The spokesman added that both sides agreed to create delegations consisting of five representatives. The chief of the South Korean delegation will be the Minister of Unification.

North Korea's official news agency later said its delegation would be headed by "minister level authorities."

There has been no dialogue at the ministerial level since 2007.

After the initial Sunday morning round of working talks, Unification Ministry officials in Seoul announced that the North had agreed to ministerial-level talks.

Last week, the communist North called for a resumption of inter-Korean dialogue after it engaged in a period of intense bellicose rhetoric and provocative nuclear and missile tests, which sent tensions on the peninsula to the highest level in decades. Pyongyang also expressed anger about joint U.S.-South Korean annual military drills that, this year, included publicized flights of American bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

The direct discussions mark a significant reversal for the North, which is under international sanctions for its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development.

A state of war on the peninsula has technically remained in effect since 1953 when three years of devastating conflict halted with a truce but no peace treaty.

Additional reporting by Youmi Kim.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid