South Korea and North Korea have agreed to restart their suspended high-level talks this month in Pyongyang, the South’s Unification Ministry said today.
“North Korea sent a message to us to propose to hold talks from April 21-24 and we agreed to the North’s proposal in a reply message today,” said ministry spokesman Yang Chang-seok.
The Cabinet-level talks were originally scheduled to start last week in the North Korean capital, but the communist nation delayed them in a protest over week-long military exercises involving South Korea and the United States that ended last Friday.
The North had suggested talks resume on an unspecified April date when it postponed the meeting.
North Korea usually reacts angrily to the drills, which Pyongyang says are a rehearsal for an invasion of the communist country. South Korea and the United States dismiss the North’s assertion, saying they are defensive exercises.
The two divided Koreas have held 17 rounds of the Cabinet-level talks – the highest-level regular dialogue channel between the two Koreas – since the first-ever inter-Korean summit in 2000.
The bilateral relations warmed significantly after the summit, but tensions persist over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
The two sides are still technically in a state of conflict because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.