02:35 GMT +325 May 2018
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    Three North Korean soldiers look at the South side at the spot where a North Korean soldier crossed the border at the Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea

    Phone Rehearsal of Korean Talks Planned for This Weekend

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    South and North Korea have arranged a phone call for Saturday to talk over the details of next week’s historic high-level meeting, the South’s Unification Ministry has said.

    South and North Korea have arranged a phone call for Saturday to talk over the details of next week’s historic high-level meeting, the South’s Unification Ministry has said.

    Preparatory talks will be held over the recently-reopened hotline in the village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized border zone, according to the Yonhap news agency. The ministry said North Korea’s proposal to send athletes to February’s Olympics would be at the center of next Tuesday’s talks. Ways of improving bilateral ties may also be raised.

    Over the weekend, negotiators will discuss the lineup of their delegations, Seoul’s unification authority said. Yonhap suggested the talks would deal with transport options for the athletes and other expenses.

    South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon proposed the talks to Pyongyang on Tuesday. His ministry said the North responded on Friday saying it accepted the offer.

    Menwhile, US Defense Secretary James Mattis during a phone call on Friday reaffirmed to South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo that the United States was ready to employ all means of warfare to defend his country, the Defense Department said in a press release.

    "Secretary Mattis reaffirmed the US commitment to defend the ROK [Republic of Korea] using the full spectrum of US capabilities," the release said on Friday.

    The leaders also discussed the importance of strong international support for diplomatic actions to resolve the North Korean threat and noted the upcoming Vancouver Ministerial Meeting of Sending States on January 15-16, the release added.

    In addition, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview on Friday that the United States is still considering the possibility of using military action against North Korea if diplomatic efforts fail to achieve denuclearization

    "I think the rhetoric that North Korea understands is that while it is our objective, and the President's been very clear, to achieve a denuclearization through diplomatic efforts, those diplomatic efforts are backed by strong military option if necessary," Tillerson told CNN.

    However, US Congressman John Garamedi believes that military scenario of the North Korean issue must be completely excluded, otherwise Trump administration may face a sinister responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of lives that might be claimed in the real conflict.

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    Tags:
    thaw, negotiations, diplomacy, Intra-Korean Talks, Cho Myoung-gyon, James Mattis, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), South Korea
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