|Head of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s high-level delegation Won Tong Yon (L) shakes hands with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kyou-hyun at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea, on Feb. 14, 2014. South Korea and the DPRK agreed Friday to hold the family reunions from Feb. 20 to 25 as scheduled, South Korean chief delegate of the inter-Korean high-level talks told a press conference. (Xinhua)
SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed Friday to hold the family reunion from Feb. 20 to 25 as scheduled, South Korea's chief delegate of the inter-Korean high-level talks told a press conference.
Kim Kyou-hyun, head of the South Korean delegation, told reporters that the two Koreas will hold the reunion of separated families as scheduled at the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang, referring to the three-point agreement reached between Seoul and Pyongyang at the second round of senior-level talks held earlier in the border village of Panmunjeom.
Delegations from both sides also agreed to stop slandering the other side to enhance mutual understanding and trust, while continuing to consult with each other about issues of mutual interests and making proactive efforts to develop the inter-Korean relations.
Kim said that the two Koreas agreed to hold another high-level dialogue when both sides feel comfortable.
Five-member delegates from the two Koreas staged the second round of talks between high-ranking officials in the Peace House, an administrative building in the South Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjeom.
The three-hour-long meeting ended with the three-point agreement. The first round of talks, held Wednesday in around seven years, ran late into midnight, but the marathon talks failed to reach any tangible agreement.
At the first round, the DPRK called for South Korea to delay the joint military exercises with the United States to dates after the end of the family reunion. The two allies will stage the "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" war games from Feb. 24 to April 18. The reunion event, where around 200 people will meet their long- lost relatives, will be held for six days through Feb. 25, dates that overlap for two days with the military drills.
The chief delegate said that the senior-level dialogue, held first since Park Geun-hye administration was launched a year ago, reached an agreement on the humanitarian event, reiterating Seoul' s position that it will be the first step to mend ties between the two Koreas.
"The high-level contact succeeded to get a win-win deal for both sides," Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the private Sejong Institute in Seoul, said on the phone. Seoul received a green light from Pyongyang toward the family reunion being held when the South Korea-U.S. military exercises are being staged, and the DPRK got a nod from South Korea to stop slandering the other side, Cheong said.
The two rounds of high-level talks became the first such talks held since May 2007 as Pyongyang made the offer to Seoul, seeking to prove its sincerity with action toward improved ties with its southern neighbor. On Feb. 8, the DPRK proposed the first high- level talks through the truce village of Panmunjeom.
At around midday Thursday, the DPRK suggested that the second round should be resumed from 3 p.m. local time that day. South Korea responded that while agreeing on the resumption, there was not enough time to restart the talks on Thursday, offering to resume the dialogue Friday. Pyongyang agreed to the counter proposal.
Since DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un expressed his willingness to mend ties with South Korea in his New Year's speech, Pyongyang maintained its charm offensive, making concessions to Seoul. The DPRK denounced the South Korea-U.S. military drills as the rehearsal for a northward invasion, but it suggested first to delay the talks before giving a nod to the family reunion even when the war games are conducted.
Cheong at the Sejong institute saw the DPRK's chief delegate as possibilities for inter-Korean summit to be held in the foreseeable future. The DPRK delegation was headed by Won Dong-yon, the No. 2 man at the United Front Department of the Workers' Party of Korea, a control tower in charge of the DPRK's relations with South Korea.
"Won Dong-yon, who participated in preparatory contacts for past inter-Korean summit, headed the North Korean delegation," said Cheong. "At the third or fourth round of senior-level contacts, North Korea (DPRK) can cautiously tap South Korea on the inter-Korean summit."
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in November last year that she was open, in principle, to summit talks with the top DPRK leader, noting that "I can meet at any time, if necessary."
Two Koreas end senior-level talks
SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) wrapped up talks between high- ranking officials after a three-hour meeting, Seoul's Unification Ministry said Friday.
Delegates from the two Koreas met around 10 a.m. local time at the border village of Panmunjeom to resume the senior-level talks, two days after the first round of such dialogue ended without any tangible agreement. Full story
S.Korea to send advance team to DPRK for family reunion
SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- South Korea will send an advance team to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Saturday to prepare for the agreed family reunion event scheduled to begin next week, Seoul's Unification Ministry said Friday.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do told a press briefing that a forward team composed of 15 officials will be dispatched to the scenic resort of Mount Kumgang on Saturday to exchange the final list of participants in the reunion and adjust detailed schedules. Full sotry