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North and South Korea to hold officials talks on Tue

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FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2015 file photo provided by the South Korean Unification Ministry, South Korean National Security Director, Kim Kwan-jin, right, and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo, second from right, shake hands with Hwang Pyong So, left, North Korea' top political officer for the Korean People's Army, and Kim Yang Gon, a senior North Korean official responsible for South Korean affairs, during their meeting at the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea. A Seoul official says both Koreas have agreed to hold their first talks in more than two years next Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, that North Korea has accepted Seoul's offer to meet at the border village of Panmunjom that day to discuss how to cooperate on next month's Winter Olympics and how to improve overall ties. (The South Korean Unification Ministry via AP, File)

(G.N.S) Dt. 05
Seoul
North and South Korea will hold official talks on Jan. 9, South Korea’s unification ministry said on Friday, after Pyongyang sent a statement accepting Seoul’s offer for talks next week.
The agenda will include the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as well as other issues of mutual interest, ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a regular briefing.
The announcement by Seoul’s Unification Ministry came hours after the United States said it has agreed to delay annual joint military exercises with South Korea until after the Winter Olympics. The exercises have been a major source of tension because North Korea considers them an invasion rehearsal, although South Korea and the United States have repeatedly said the drills are defensive in nature.
On Friday morning, North Korea sent a message saying it would accept South Korea’s offer to meet at the border village of Panmunjom next Tuesday to discuss Olympic cooperation and how to improve overall ties, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry.
Mr.Tae-hyun said he expected the two Korean nations to exchange messages to determine who would head each other’s delegations and other issues.
Any dialogue between the Koreas is considered a positive step toward easing confrontations. But critics say the North’s abrupt push for improving ties may be a tactic to divide Seoul and Washington and weaken international pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang.

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