\SEOUL, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will hold a dialogue between high-ranking officials Wednesday, Seoul's Unification Ministry said Tuesday.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do told an emergency press briefing that the two Koreas have agreed to hold the high- level talks from 10 a.m. Wednesday local time in the Peace House, the South Korean side of the border village of Panmunjeom.
Kim Kyou-hyun, first deputy chief of the presidential national security office and former first vice foreign minister, will lead the South Korean delegation composed of officials from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, the Unification Ministry and the Defense Ministry.
The DPRK delegation will be led by Won Dong-yon, deputy head of the United Front Department of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.
The vice ministerial-level officials from both sides will discuss overall inter-Korean affairs, with no specific agenda being selected in advance, Kim said, noting that the agenda was expected to include the agreed family reunion being implemented without a hitch and the regularization of the reunion.
Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to hold the reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War from Feb. 20 to 25 at the DPRK 's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang.
It would be the first high-level, inter-governmental talks between the two Koreas since South Korean President Park Geun-hye took office in February last year.
Seoul and Pyongyang originally planned to hold the inter- governmental dialogue in June last year for the first time in six years, but the DPRK unilaterally canceled the meeting citing the low rank of chief delegate that South Korea wanted to send to the dialogue table.
The DPRK asked an official from the presidential office to become chief delegate of South Korea, according to local media reports. It was unusual for the presidential official, not the Unification Ministry official, to lead the South Korean delegation for inter-Korean talks.
On Feb. 8, the DPRK reportedly proposed to South Korea for holding the senior-level dialogue. Since then, the two Koreas discussed detailed schedules and who head respective delegations through the liaison office of the truce village of Panmunjeom.
During the upcoming talks, South Korea is expected to bring issues of regularly holding the family reunion and successfully staging the agreed reunion this month to the dialogue agenda, while stressing the need for the DPRK's abandonment of its nuclear weapons program to make fundamental progress in inter-Korean relations.
The DPRK is expected to demand cancellation of the joint annual military exercises between Seoul and Washington, while bringing on the agenda resuming tour to the Mount Kumgang resort in the DPRK's southeast coast. The tour, launched in 1998, was halted in July 2008 when a South Korean female tourist was shot dead by a DPRK solider after venturing into an off-limit area.
Last Thursday, Pyongyang reiterated its call for the cancellation of the South Korea-U.S. annual military drills, saying that dialogue and the rehearsal for war of aggression can never be compatible.
South Korea's Defense Ministry said Monday that combined forces of South Korea and the United States will conduct the "Key Resolve " and "Foal Eagle" war games from Feb. 24 to April 18 as planned.
Dates for the family reunion event overlap for two days with the joint military exercises.
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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon has called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to follow through on an agreement on holding a reunion of families separated by the Korean War on the sidelines of the ongoing Winter Olympics in Russia, a UN spokesman told reporters here on Monday. Full story
S. Korea sends technicians to repair reunion facilities
SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- South Korea on Friday dispatched a group of technicians to the Mount Kumgang resort, in the southeast coast of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), to repair facilities for the family reunion. Full story
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SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- South Korea expressed regrets Thursday over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s inkling of connecting the family reunion issue with the military issue after Pyongyang called for Seoul to cancel its joint military exercises with Washington.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do told an emergency press briefing that it was regrettable for the DPRK to threaten possible failures to fulfill the agreement on the family reunion citing the scheduled joint military drills between South Korea and the United States. Full story
Two Koreas begin family reunion talks
SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People' s Republic of Korea (DPRK) began working-level contact at the border village of Panmunjeom on Wednesday to sort out details on the agreed reunion of separated families.
Three delegates from both sides began the reunion talks around 10 a.m. at Tongilgak, an administrative building on the DPRK side of the truce village of Panmunjeom, Seoul's Unification Ministry said. Full story