N.Korea accepts South's offer of talks next week: Seoul

By AFP   January 5, 2018 | 10:07 am GMT+7
N.Korea accepts South's offer of talks next week: Seoul
Participants gesture during a mass demonstration in support of a new year address made by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang on January 4, 2018. Photo by AFP

Tensions have been high after the North carried out multiple missile launches in 2017.

Nuclear-armed North Korea on Friday accepted the South's offer of talks next week, said Seoul's Unification ministry, which oversees relations with Pyongyang.

The meeting will take place in Panmunjom, the truce village in the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.

Tensions have been high after the North carried out multiple missile launches in 2017, including a number of ICBMs, and its sixth atomic test, by far its most powerful to date.

The tentative rapprochement comes after the North's leader Kim Jong-Un warned in his New Year speech that he had a nuclear button on his desk, but at the same time offered Seoul an olive branch, saying Pyongyang could send a team to next month's Winter Olympics in the South.

Seoul responded with an offer of talks between the two, and earlier this week the hotline between them was restored after being suspended for almost two years.

Late Thursday, the South's president Moon Jae-In and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump agreed to delay joint military drills -- which always infuriate the North -- until after the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang which begin on February 9.

A unification ministry official told AFP that the North faxed a message to Seoul saying it accepted the proposal for talks on Tuesday.

Ministry spokesman Baek Tae-Hyun told journalists that the agenda would include the Pyeongchang Olympics "and the issue of improving inter-Korean relations".

 
 
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