Cross-over: Koreas hold high-level talks on inter-Korean issuesUpdated: 2014-02-12 09:24:29 (KST)
The two Koreas are holding high-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjom this Wednesday morning.
The meeting -- the first between the North and South in several years -- comes a matter of days ahead of a round of reunions for families separated since the Korean War.
For more details, we are going connect live to our correspondent Hwang Sung-hee at the Unification Ministry.
Sung-hee, what's the latest?
Good morning, Mark.
The meeting was scheduled to begin at around 10 a.m. Korea time, which is about now, so it should be getting underway as we speak.
The South Korean delegation left for the truce village of Panmunjom, where the talks are being held, at around 7:30 this morning.
Kim Kyou-hyun, South Korea's chief delegate, told reporters that he will pour all his efforts into holding fruitful discussions.
"I will engage in the talks with an open attitude to study an opportunity to ring in a new era on the Korean peninsula."
South Korea's five-member delegation is composed of officials from the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, the unification ministry and the defense ministry.
The North Korean delegation is led by Won Dong-yon, deputy head of the United Front Department of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, with officials from the National Defense Commission, the military and the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea.
The meeting was proposed by North Korea last Saturday and the two sides will be discussing pressing inter-Korean issues.
So, we hear the two Koreas have not set a specific agenda on what will be discussed at the talks.
What topics are expected to be brought up today?
It's very rare for the two Koreas to meet for talks without a fixed agenda.
The South Korean chief delegate told reporters this morning that the South will focus on making sure the upcoming family reunions take place as planned.
The Koreas are scheduled to resume the reunions from February 20th to the 25th, and if held, it will be the first such event in more than three years.
However, the reunion event won't be North Korea's top priority at today's meeting.
Experts say Pyongyang will be seeking to stop the upcoming joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington, scheduled to begin at the end of this month.
South Korea and the U.S. say the drills are defensive in nature, but the North views them as a practice for war and has repeated called for the exercises to be canceled.
North Korea had earlier threatened to reconsider its agreement to hold the family reunions, should the joint military exercises take place as planned.
Thank you, Sung-hee and please do keep us updated throughout the day.
That was our unification ministry correspondent Hwang Sung-hee with the latest on the first high-level talks between the two Koreas in seven years.
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