ROK, DPRK to hold high-level meeting

Updated: 2014-02-12 10:27

By Agencies in Seoul and Beijing (China Daily)

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Senior officials from Pyongyang and Seoul will hold a rare meeting on Wednesday, as China called for all parties to avoid actions that could raise tensions in Northeast Asia.

The meeting, announced on Tuesday by Kim Eui-do, spokesman for the Republic of Korea's Unification Ministry, was arranged with unusual speed after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea proposed the talks in a message on Saturday.

It will be the highest-level contact since 2007, when the ROK and the DPRK, separate since the end of World War II, held only their second summit meeting. They are also the first such talks since 2010.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chun-ying said on Tuesday it is the common interest of all concerned parties to preserve peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

During the meeting between the DPRK and the ROK, Pyongyang is likely to restate its demand for the cancellation of the drills between the ROK and the United States, said Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

"They will try to explain the position that family reunions and military activities are not compatible," Yang said.

The drills are due to start later this month.

The two sides have agreed to hold reunions this month of family members separated since the 1950-53 Korean War at the Mount Kumgang resort, just inside the DPRK.

ROK President Park Geun-hye's deputy national security adviser will lead the ROK delegation of defense and security officials at Wednesday's talks at the Panmunjom truce village on the heavily guarded border, ministry spokesman Kim said.

The DPRK's delegation will be headed by Won Tong-yon, a senior official at the ruling Workers' Party of Korea's United Front Department that handles affairs with the ROK.

Last year, high-level talks were scrapped less than a day before their planned start as the two sides failed to agree on who should attend.



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