North and South Korea resume talks

Humanitarian aid, family reunions and railway links will top the agenda.

    Humanitarian aid, family reunions and railway
    links will top the agenda [GALLO/GETTY]
    Officials from both countries are expected to discuss the restoration of fertiliser and food aid shipments to the North which South Korea suspended last July.
    In return, the South will seek to continue reuniting families on both sides of the border, an exercise North Korea put on hold in response to the aid suspension.
    Railway link
    Another key issue will be whether the North would allow a test run of trains on rebuilt tracks through the heavily-armed border.
    Planned tests were called off at the last minute early last year because the North Korean military said there were no proper security arrangements.
    The inter-Korean talks also raise the likelihood of a long-delayed second summit between their leaders before this year's presidential election in South Korea.
    Roh Moo-hyun, South Korea's president, has strongly supported engagement with the North.
    But his popularity has taken a beating due to a perception that he has failed to improve the economy and isolated the country from key allies such as the US.
    Leaders of the two Koreas last met in Pyongyang in 2000, the start of reconciliation between the sides which remain technically at war since the Korean war ended in a 1953 armistice instead of a peace treaty.
    Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, has yet to fulfil a promise for a return visit to Seoul, South Korea's capital.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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