2 Koreas hold talks in truce village

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SEOUL: South Korea on Saturday said the North had agreed to hold working-level talks on Sunday in the border truce village of Panmunjom, following months of soaring tensions and threats of nuclear war.

The two Koreas agreed to send three delegates each to Panmun-jom, a traditional point of contact on their border, for talks aimed at paving the way for higher-level negotiations, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.

Pyongyang conveyed its decision to the South through a hotline between the two sides that was reopened on Friday, the ministry said. The hotline was severed in March as military tensions soared on the divided peninsula.

The two nations unexpectedly reached a snap agreement Thursday on opening a dialogue, with South Korea responding to a North initiative by offering a ministerial-level meeting in Seoul on June 12.

A spokesman for Pyongyang’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea then suggested initial lower-level talks Sunday in the Kaesong joint industrial zone.

The South’s Unification Ministry—using the newly reopened hotline—agreed but said Panmunjom would be a more appropriate venue.

The proposed agenda for the North-South talks involves the re-opening of Kaesong, the resumption of tours to the North’s Mount Kumgang resort and renewed cross-border family reunions.

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