North and South Korea Agree to First Dialogue in Years
North and South Korea on Thursday agreed to hold their first government dialogue in years, raising hopes that they were moving toward a thaw in relations after a prolonged standoff marked by military provocations from the North and retaliatory economic penalties from the South.
The development came after North Korea made a surprise overture on Thursday, proposing official negotiations with the South to discuss reopening two shuttered joint economic projects as well as humanitarian projects. South Korea, which has demanded such talks in recent months, quickly accepted the offer, proposing that the two sides hold a cabinet minister-level meeting in the South Korean capital, Seoul, next Wednesday.
North Korea will talk to South Korea in bid to ease tension on the peninsula
North and South Korea have reached an agreement to hold talks on reopening a joint industrial complex that was shuttered in April, the first step toward cooperation – after countless steps in the opposite direction – since it was closed.
Pyongyang had rejected all previous offers to discuss reopening the Kaesong industrial complex. Observers speculate that its acquiescence now signals it is feeling dangerously isolated from China, a vital ally that has indicated frustration with North Korean intransigence and warmed up to US-led efforts to isolate Pyongyang.
North and South Korea agree to talk
After months of unsettling tensions, North and South Korea tentatively agreed Thursday to hold talks about reopening the shared manufacturing zone where Pyongyang halted activity in April.
The North proposed the meeting to discuss the shuttered Kaesong Industrial Zone — a major symbol of cooperation between the two countries — along with other issues in a statement published by state-run media.