2 Koreas Hold Second Day of High-Level Talks
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – North and South Korea held a second day of high-level talks Saturday, aimed at easing cross-border tensions just months after a flare-up pushed them to the brink of an armed conflict.
The vice-minister-level talks, with a mandate to address a broad but unspecified range of inter-Korean issues, are the first of their type for nearly two years, AFP reported on Saturday.
While no substantial breakthrough is expected, there is room for tangible progress with both sides seeking the resumption of stalled cooperation projects that have significant symbolic and financial value.
The talks, held on the North Korean side of the border in the jointly-run Kaesong industrial zone, were a key element of an accord reached in August to end a dangerous military standoff.
At the height of that crisis, fuelled by high-decibel bellicose rhetoric, both Koreas went on a virtual war footing after a brief artillery exchange across their land border.
The Kaesong talks began Friday and ran over three sessions between South Korea's chief delegate Hwang Boo-Gi and his North Korean counterpart Jon Jong-Su.
"The two sides had a broad discussion of pending issues and exchanged views in a sincere manner," the Unification Ministry in Seoul said.
They met again for 40 minutes on Saturday morning, before adjourning to consult with their respective capitals.
"I think it will take time," Hwang said when asked how long the talks would continue for.
Previous efforts to establish a regular dialogue have tended to falter after an initial meeting -- reflecting decades of animosity and mistrust between two countries that have remained technically at war since the end of the 1950-53 Korean conflict.
As they shook hands on Friday, Hwang said it was time to "take a crucial step," while Jon underlined the opportunity to move towards a less confrontational relationship.
There was no set agenda for the discussions, but they were expected to focus on reviving two cross-border programs.