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Thursday, September 06, 2001, updated at 13:42(GMT+8)

Seoul Proposes Inter-Korean Ministerial Talks for Sept. 15-18

South Korea Thursday proposed that the fifth inter-Korean ministerial meeting be held in Seoul on September 15-18.

In press release seen as an official response to the proposal by Pyongyang for early resumption of the stalled inter-Korean talks, the South Korean Unification Ministry said it expects the forthcoming meeting will achieve new fruits and further push forward the peace process of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation

The ministry also hopes that all agreements reached between the two sides could be carried out.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sunday afternoon proposed that the stalled inter-Korean talks be resumed as early as possible.

"We propose an early resumption of talks with the South in accordance with the spirit of the joint North-South Declaration, reflecting the wishes of the whole Korean people," said Rim Dong- ok, vice-chairman of the DPRK Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Fatherland, in a broadcast message to South Korean Unification Minister Lim Dong-won.

"We expect a positive response toward our constructive proposal to come from the South," Rim said in the message.

In the message, Pyongyang stressed that two sides had paved a way toward the unification by working together following the spirit of the declaration signed by South Korean President Kim Dae- jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il at the close of their first-ever summit in Pyongyang last year.

The inter-Korean talks have been deadlocked along with the Pyongyang-Washington dialogue due to tough attitude by George W. Bush who took the U.S. presidency last January.

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South Korea accepted North Korea's proposal to resume inter-Korean dialogue and suggested Thursday that minister-level officials meet in Seoul Sept. 15-18, Yonhap reported Thursday.

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