South Korean President Park Geun-hye, center, salutes to a national flag during a 58th Memorial Day ceremony at the National Cemetery in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, Pool)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North and South Korea on Thursday agreed to hold talks on reopening a jointly run factory complex and other cross-border issues, after months of deteriorating relations and a day before a U.S.-China summit in which the North is expected to be a key topic.
The envisioned talks, welcomed by Washington, could help rebuild avenues of inter-Korean cooperation that were obliterated in recent years amid hardline stances by both countries, though the key issue isolating the North from the world community — its nuclear program — is not up for debate.
The North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, in a statement carried by state media, said it is open to holding talks with Seoul on reopening the Kaesong complex just north of the Demilitarized Zone separating the countries. The complex closed this spring.
It also proposed talks on resuming reunions of families separated by war, and on resuming South Korean tours to a mountain resort in the North.
Pyongyang offered to let the South set the time and venue, and hours later South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae proposed meeting on all three topics in Seoul on June 12.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye welcomed the North Korean agreement to government-level talks that Seoul had proposed in April.
“I feel it’s fortunate that the North accepted the proposal for government-level talks even though (the acceptance) came late,” she said, according to her presidential office.
The agreement to meet could represent a change in North Korea’s approach, or could simply be an effort to ease international demands that it end its development of nuclear weapons. Pyongyang has committed a drumbeat of provocative acts since April 2012, when it scuttled a nuclear and humanitarian aid deal with the U.S. by launching a rocket that was viewed as an effort to test its long-range Login to read more