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Koreas Agree To Border Talks

July 30, 2000

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ North and South Korea agreed on Sunday to hold regular high-level talks and reopen their suspended border liaison offices as part of efforts to implement agreements reached at the June summit of their leaders, a South Korean official said.

The agreement was the first sign of progress reported at Cabinet-level talks which opened in Seoul on Sunday. Details on this and other subjects will be discussed before the North Korean delegation leaves Seoul on Monday, officials said.

``The talks got off to a good start amid a very friendly atmosphere unparalleled in the past,″ Kim Sun-kyu, a South Korean delegate, said at a press briefing. ``Many issues will be discussed at the Seoul talks.″

The morning session lasted 1 1/2 hours, during which both sides also agreed to mark one week around Aug. 15 with programs celebrating the June summit, said Kim, who serves as vice minister of culture and tourism.

Aug. 15 marks Korean liberation from Japanese colonialism in 1945. Both Koreas usually mark the day with various programs dedicated to unification. This year, they will exchange 100 people each for temporary family reunions, the first since 1985.

A proposed visit to Seoul by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and inter-Korea military and economic exchanges and cooperation were expected to be discussed in the afternoon session, Kim said.

Before starting the talks behind closed doors, delegates from both sides vowed to uphold the spirit of the historic inter-Korea summit and make efforts to bring a lasting thaw to the divided Korean peninsula, the world’s last Cold War frontier.

To avoid political friction, no flags or other national emblems were used for the talks.

The five-member North Korean delegation, accompanied by 13 assistants and seven journalists, flew into Seoul via Beijing on Saturday for the talks which will end on Monday. The North Koreans spent Saturday attending social functions.

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