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Peninsula relations progress after Panmunjom meeting

By Ma Fei (People's Daily)    09:34, January 10, 2018

South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (right), and his counterpart Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country shake hands during Tuesday’s meeting at Peace Houe. Photo: Yonhap news.

Seoul (People’s Daily) – Delegates from North and South Korea met for the first time in person in over two years to discuss the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics, military tension on the peninsula, and bilateral relations on Tuesday.

“Today’s meeting has great significance on restoring and developing inter-Korean relations. The two sides will promote bilateral ties based on mutual respect," said South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.

North Korea’s participation in the upcoming games is an opportunity for both two sides to ease tension on the peninsula.

The South and North hold high-level talks on Tuesday at the border village of Panmunjom. Photo: Yonhap news.

"The South and North took their first step towards improving bilateral relations. As the bilateral ties have been strained for a long time, there are many problems to be solved," Cho added.

The two sides met at Peace House in Panmunjom, a border village located inside the Joint Security Area (JSA). Before it was over, North Korea had agreed to send a delegation of high-ranking officials, performers, taekwondo athletes, and reporters to PyeongChang.

Both sides will continue talking and will address other topics outside of the Winter Olympics, such as easing military tension along the border, said joint issued following the meetings at Peace House.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that if a land route is used by the North to get to and from the games, then meetings between military officials from both sides will be necessary.

Last week, North Korea reestablished a phone hotline with the South, a move aimed at facilitating more dialogue.

South Korea’s foreign ministry spokesman, Noh Kyu-duk, said the South could temporarily ease sanctions if necessary to help North Korea visit PyeongChang in February. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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