Seoul and Pyongyang set the time for first inter-Korean talks in 25 months

By Jennie Oh  |  Jan. 8, 2018 at 4:54 AM
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SEOUL, South Korea, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Seoul and Pyongyang officials will meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday for the first inter-Korean dialogue to be held in 25 months, South Korea's Unification Ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said in a regular press briefing on Monday that the time had been confirmed and a detailed schedule would be released on the day of the dialogue.

The meeting will take place in the Peace House in the truce village of Panmunjom, JoongAng Ilbo reported.

He said the talks will largely focus on the North's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics but other pending issues of mutual interest could be on the agenda, "especially those that were highlighted in July last year."

On July 17 last year, the new Moon Jae-in administration proposed holding military talks with the North to discuss ways to prevent accidental clashes and to halt hostile actions near the Military Demarcation Line. Seoul also suggested inter-Korean Red Cross talks on holding separated family reunions.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told reporters on Monday morning that Seoul would prepare to discuss these issues, Yonhap reported.

The ministry, however, could not confirm if Tuesday's talks would touch on North Korea's nuclear program. Spokesman Baik said, it would be difficult to comment based on presuppositions.

Meanwhile, analysts believe the North may ask Seoul to halt joint military drills with the United States as well as the rotational deployment of U.S. strategic assets to the South.

It may also request the resumption of economic cooperation such as reactivating the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex.

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