North and South Talks to Take Place in Panmunjom, 1st Since 2007
D-Bo , Feb. 12, 2014, 3:24 p.m.
North and South Korea have agreed to hold talks between officials from both countries. The event will take place in the truce border village of Panmunjom. This event will take place as the first form of high-level contact between the North and South since the summit and defense ministers’ talks back in 2007.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do informed reporters, "A final agreement was made on Tuesday afternoon.”
Topics expected to be discussed include the reunion of families separated by the Korean War, resumption visitor tours to the North's Mt. Kumgang, and humanitarian aid to the North.
The spokesman stated there is "no set agenda" for the talks, but "comprehensive discussions" will indeed take place on a variety of key subjects.
Won Tong-yon, senior official in the Workers Party's United Front Department and veteran in relations with Seoul, will represent the North. Kim Kyu-hyun, senior Cheong Wa Dae official, will represent the South. Senior presidential secretary, Hong Yong-pyo, will also take part in the talks.
"North Korea appears interested in regular talks between high-level officials,” stated a government official. Another included "Since there are many issues that need to be addressed, several meetings will be needed."
Depending on how the talks go, a hotline linking the national security office of the North and South could be developed. This would lead to easier communication with the North’s leader Kim Jong-un.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye stated reunification would be a "breakthrough" for all of Northeast Asia. Kim Jong-un also mentioned in his New Year's message that he would like to develop an "atmosphere of improving inter-Korean relations."