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Two Koreas to hold senior-level talks

Lower-level officials pave way for more substantive dialogue this week as tensions between two nations remain high.

Last Modified: 10 Jun 2013 09:01
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Officials from both countries spent 17 hours planning Wednesday's more substantive meeting [EPA]

North and South Korea have agreed to hold senior-level talks this week in Seoul following marathon talks aimed at rebuilding trust after months of soaring tension and threats of nuclear war.

In a sign of the trust deficit that remains six decades after the armistice agreement, the talks between lower-level officials of each nation dragged on deep into Monday morning as the two sides struggled to agree on a framework for a more substantive dialogue.

The two-day meeting starting on Wednesday will focus on stalled cooperation projects, including the resumption of operations at a jointly-run factory park near the border in North Korea that was the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean rapprochement.

The agreement to hold the talks was announced in a statement early on Monday by South Korea's Unification Ministry, which is responsible for North Korea matters. North Korea's official news agency, KCNA, also reported the agreement.

It is still unclear who will represent each side in what is likely to be the highest-level talks between the Koreas in years. But dialogue at any level marks an improvement in the countries' abysmal ties.

The last several years have seen North Korean nuclear tests, long-range rocket launches and attacks blamed on the North that killed 50 South Koreans in 2010.

The meeting will also include discussions on resuming South Korean tours to a North Korean mountain resort, the reunion of separated families and other humanitarian issues, officials said. 

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