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    South Korea Still Hopes for High-Level Talks with Pyongyang Later This Month

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    The Relationship Between the Two Koreas (166)
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    South Korean officials still hope to resume high-level talks with the country’s northern neighbor despite recent tensions and an exchange of fire.

    MOSCOW, October 20 (RIA Novosti)  - Seoul has proposed another round of vice-ministerial talks for October 30, the country’s largest news agency Yonhap reports, adding that Pyongyang has so far not responded to the offer.

    "Our government expects the second South-North high-level contact to be held on October 30 as we suggested on October 13,"the agency quotes unification ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol as saying at a Monday press briefing.

    He added that the two sides have already agreed to hold the meeting between late October and early November.

    However, the South Korean officials need a response from the north by the end of this week in order to have time for preparations; the agency quotes another unification ministry official as saying.

    Last Wednesday, October 15, the agency reported that the neighbors had begun bilateral general-level talks in the border community of Panmunjom. However, over the weekend, the sides exchanged fire again after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) soldiers approached the military demarcation line (MDL) between the two countries.

    This was not the first exchange of fire; after South Korean activists released big balloons carrying 200,000 anti-Pyongyang leaflets on to the territory of North Korea earlier in October.

    The North Korean authorities have repeatedly urged Seoul to stop such activity and threatened to shell the area which the activists were launching their messages from.

    Now the South Korean unification ministry has pledged it would try to block the activists from engaging in similar activities.

    "We are instead asking civilian groups to act carefully and wisely in consideration of the safety and security of the people as North Korea's threats grow," the ministry spokesman is quoted as saying.

    The move follows South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s insistence that he will press ahead with the dialogue with Pyongyang despite the continuing provocations.

    Topic:
    The Relationship Between the Two Koreas (166)
    Tags:
    provocation, shelling, negotiations, talks, Pyongyang, Seoul, South Korea
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