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S. Korea proposes talks with DPRK on preventing tree diseases

(Xinhua)

08:45, February 09, 2012

SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- South Korea proposed Wednesday inter- Korean talks over preserving disease-threatened pine trees at ancient tombs in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), local media reported.

Via a communication channel at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea's Forest Service suggested holding a working-level meeting later this month, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The DPRK authorities have yet to agree to such a meeting.

The move comes after the DPRK asked South Korean civic groups, including the Seoul-based Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, for medicine for tree diseases.

South Korean Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik recently said the government is considering providing assistance for the pest control at the ancient site.

The meeting, if held, will be the first official inter-Korean talks since a working-level military talks last year failed to narrow their differences on two deadly border conflicts in 2010.

It will also be the first talks between the former wartime enemies since the Dec. 17 death of top DPRK leader Kim Jong Il.

The two Koreas remain at odds following the border incidents, which killed 50 South Koreans and prompted Seoul authorities to put nearly all cross-border exchanges on hold.

The complex housing scores of tombs from the ancient Korean dynasty of Koguryo, located in Pyongyang and Nampo, was designated in 2004 as the first UNESCO World Heritage site in the DPRK.

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