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North, South Korea Agree to More Talks

Talks between North and South Korean officials dragged into the early hours of Monday, as delegates worked on setting the ground rules for this week's inter-governmental meeting in Seoul.

Sunday's meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom was the first of its kind in more than two years.

South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk told reporters that both sides agreed the upcoming meeting will focus on the resumption of two stalled inter-Korean ventures in the North, and meetings between families separated on the peninsula.

Sunday's talks, which lasted for 18 hours, came after Pyongyang unexpectedly offered last week to discuss the possible re-opening of the Kaesong industrial complex, a jointly run factory north of the border that was shut down in April amid heightened tensions.

Pyongyang 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.

The North's statement Thursday 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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