DPRK accepts S. Korea's proposal for high-level talks on Jan. 9

January 5, 2018



SEOUL: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has accepted South Korea's offer to hold a senior-level, inter-governmental dialogue next week, Seoul's unification ministry said Friday. 

Baek Tae-hyun, spokesman of the unification ministry, told a press briefing that the DPRK side sent a notice to the South Korean side at about 10:16 a.m. local time (0116 GMT) via the communications channel in the truce village of Panmunjom. 

With the notice, the DPRK accepted South Korea's proposal to hold high-level talks on Jan. 9 at the Peace House, a building controlled by South Korea in Panmunjom that straddles the heavily guarded inter-Korean land border. 

The DPRK notice was sent in the name of Ri Son-kwon, chief of the DPRK's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland to South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon. 

Spokesman Baek said the dialogue agenda would include issues to improve inter-Korean relations and the DPRK's dispatch of its delegation to the South Korea-hosted Winter Olympics. 

Details on how to form the delegations and who represents the delegations for the high-level talks will be discussed through the exchange of letters over the Panmunjom hotline, the spokesman said.The Panmunjom hotline of direct dialogue between the two sides was reopened earlier this week for the first time in almost two years amid rising signs of a thaw in inter-Korean relations. 

Top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's Day address that his country was willing to dispatch a delegation to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and talk with South Korea about it.The following day, Seoul offered to Pyongyang holding the senior-level dialogue to discuss issues of mutual concern. The dialogue overture was accepted by the DPRK Friday. 

On Thursday night, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed not to conduct the annual war games between Seoul and Washington during the winter sports games period.Pyongyang has denounced the South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises, codenamed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, as a dress rehearsal for northward invasion. 

The springtime war games, which tended to kick off in mid-march and last by the end of April, could have coincided with the 2018 Winter Olympics slated for Feb. 9-25 and the Winter Paralympic Games on March 9-18.Enditem 

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