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North, South Korea Hold High-Level Meeting

North and South Korea have held their highest-level talks in seven years, raising cautious hopes of improved ties between the two foes.

There was no official agenda for the meeting, which was held on the South Korean side of the Panmunjom border village Wednesday.

Speaking ahead of the talks, the head of the South Korean delegation, national security official Kim Kyou-hyun, expressed optimism.



"We will participate in the meeting with an open mind and attitude toward opening new road in the Korean peninsula."



The North Korean delegation is led by senior negotiator Won Dong Yon.

One of the issues to be discussed was the resumption later this month of reunions between families split by the Korean War.

South Korea hopes to make the reunions a regular occurrence. They have not been held since 2010.

North Korea is likely to continue its push for the South to call off its annual joint military drills, set to begin February 24.

Pyongyang has threatened to cancel the reunions because of the war games, which it views as preparation to invade.



On Tuesday, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, So Se Pyong, called the exercises "sinister and dangerous."



"If they really want that kind of exercise, they can do it, not on the Korean Peninsula, they can do it outside the Korean Peninsula, or if they really want they can do it on American land, in America. Why do they only choose, indeed why do they come, to the Korean Peninsula?"



The North also wants to resume lucrative South Korean tours to its Mount Kumgang resort area.

This is the first time senior North and South Korean officials have met since 2007.

The meeting was requested by Pyongyang, which has recently signaled it is ready to improve ties.

But the South has insisted it will not do so unless North Korea agrees to take steps towards dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

It is not known whether the nuclear issue was among the topics to be discussed Wednesday.

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