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North and South Korea to begin high-level talks

North and South Korea to begin high-level talks
From BBC - January 8, 2018

North and South Korea will meet on Tuesday for high-level talks, the first between the countries in two years.

The meeting is set to take place at 10:00 local time (01:00 GMT) at the Peace House in the truce village of Panmunjom.

The talks will focus on North Korea's possible participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, taking place in South Korea in February.

South Korea also said it would raise ways to improve inter-Korean relations.

Relations between the Koreas deteriorated after Seoul suspended a joint economic project at the Kaesong Industrial complex in North Korea following a rocket launch and nuclear test by the North.

The incident led to North Korea breaking off communications with Seoul, including cutting off telephone contact.The last high-level talks between the two countries were in December 2015.

Tensions have risen in the years since as the North continues to rapidly advance its banned weapons programme.

Focus on the Olympics

On Monday, Seoul's unification minister re-iterated that the Olympics would be the "focus" of the talks, but added that other issues would be raised.

"When discussing inter-Korean relations, the government will seek to raise the issue of war-torn families and ways to ease military tensions," said Cho Myoung-gyon, who will be leading the five-member delegation to the talks.

The North will also be sending a delegation of five, led by Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of North Korea's state agency in charge of affairs with the South.

Mr Ri is known as a veteran negotiator who has been leading North Korean delegations since 2006.

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'Groundbreaking chance'

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