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North Korea Agrees to High-Level Talks With South Korea

RIA Novosti

15:52 04/10/2014

MOSCOW, October 4 (RIA Novosti) - After months of tension, North Korea has agreed to high-level talks with its southern neighbor on Saturday, according to a press release by the South Korean Ministry of Unification.

'The North Korean delegates stated that it is willing to sit down for the 2nd inter-Korean high-level meeting which the South had proposed on a day that suits the South between the end of October and early November,' the press release read, adding that the two sides would have working-level consultations on specific matters ahead of the high-level meeting.

Earlier on Saturday, three top-raking North Korean officials, close aides to the leader Kim Jong-un, made a surprise visit for the closing of the Asian Games in Icheon, South Korea and held talks with Ryoo Kihl-jae, South's unification minister.

Hwang Pyong-so, a top political officer in North Korea's army, also seen as Kim Jong-un's number-two, was among the Pyongyang's delegation.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye wanted to meet the North's delegates, but their sudden visit and limited time did not allow for a trip to the presidential Blue House, according to the Unification Ministry statement.

The South had been urging the North to resume dialogue for seven months amid tensions mostly related to South Korea-US joint military drills.

In August, North Korea called on the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session over the military drills, also accusing Washington of engaging in 'nuclear blackmail' by bringing nuclear-armed submarines to South Korea.

The latest high-level talks between the North and South, held in February, resulted in Pyongyang's agreement to resume the reunion of family members separated during the 1950-53 Korean War; a program that was suspended when North Korea shelled a South Korean border island in 2010.

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