North Korea And South Korea Officially Agree To Hold High-Level Talks

North Korea And South Korea Officially Agree To Hold High-Level Talks

South Korea's Ministry of Unification confirmed officials will meet "in order to discuss North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, as well as measures to improve the inter-Korea relationship and other issues of common interest".

South Korea said the North had sent its consent for the talks to be held on Tuesday.

The agreement to delay the South Korea-U.S. war games came amid rising signs of a thaw between the two Koreas, caused by the peace overture which Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), made in his New Year's Day address.

Preparations for the meeting at a border village - what would be the first formal gathering between the two sides since 2015 - would be done via letters, he said.

US Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday defended President Donald Trump's fiery tweets at North Korea, saying the commander-in-chief's clear messaging helped increase pressure on the regime over its nuclear weapons program.

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While it has in the past existed as a key way for the two sides to tamp down accidental flare-ups along the DMZ, the North reportedly stopped answering the line two years ago after South Korea closed what had been a joint North-South industrial complex in Kaesong - a town on the North Korean side of the divide. "Those talks are clearly the result of the amount of worldwide pressure (on North Korea), and they are a way for North Korea to start talking while keeping it contained to a benign issue". This time, South Korea asked whether they had any news.

Later he said, "In terms of whether it's a one-off (gesture) from him or a real olive branch, I don't know".

"Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn't firm, strong and willing to commit our total "might" against the North", Trump tweeted.

Global sporting events have previously produced diplomatic openings between the two Koreas, only to lead nowhere. Commercial satellite imagery suggested that North Korea was preparing for a rocket engine test at the Sohae launch facility in the country's northeast, the website 38 North reported Friday.

Mr Trump consulted with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the matter, according to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning. Officials in Beijing have sought to get the parties back to negotiations to reduce the risk of a United States military strike that could topple their longtime ally or draw them into a regional conflict.

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