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North Korea agrees to talks with South at Panmunjom

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea agrees to talks with South at Panmunjom
North and South Korea are to meet at the truce village of Panmunjom on Tuesday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- North Korea accepted a South Korean offer of talks, to be held on Tuesday, a month before the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The talks, to be held at the House of Peace in Panmunjom, would mark the first time senior officials of the two Koreas are to meet in 25 months, South Korean television network JTBC reported Friday.

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North Korea's acceptance of the South's proposal comes four days after Seoul made the offer, and Pyongyang's reply came by fax.

Potential talks and other signs of détente were previously welcomed at the White House, according to the report.

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U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly said Thursday he expected good results from the North-South talks.

He also said he supported South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Local television network SBS reported the talks are expected to cover the possibility of North Korean participation in the Winter Games.

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The fax was sent from the office of Ri Son Kwon, chairman of the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, and addressed to South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyun.

The unification ministry has said it will consult with the International Olympic Committee regarding North Korea's participation, and talks with the IOC will begin next week.

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Cho is a veteran South Korean negotiator, according to JTBC, and has previously been involved in cooperative talks during the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations.

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North Korea's Ri has extensive experience in inter-Korea military talks, and once walked out of talks on the Cheonan incident in 2011.

North Korea has denied it torpedoed the South Korean warship that killed 46 South Korean crewmembers.

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