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Koreas Begin 12th Ministerial Talks

Koreas Begin 12th Ministerial Talks

South and North Korea on Tuesday (Oct. 14) started their 12th ministerial talks in Pyongyang to discuss pending issues including the North¡¯s nuclear programs, which are seen as the biggest security concern in the region.

The two sides are scheduled to give keynote speeches on their positions on the nuclear issue at the first plenary session this morning.

¡°We will strongly urge the North to return to the six-way talks as soon as possible and to take no moves that could aggravate the crisis,¡± Seoul¡¯s spokesman for the talks Shin Eon-sang said prior to departure.

The South Korean delegation, led by Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun, arrived at Pyongyang¡¯s Sunan International Airport in the afternoon, taking a chartered flight that skirted the West Sea. Jeong told reporters that he intends to use inter-Korean talks as a way of pushing for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear crisis.

In the evening the Southerners were treated with a welcome dinner by the North Korean delegation, headed by Senior Cabinet Councilor Kim Ryong-song, at the Mansudae Art Theatre in the evening.

Ministerial talks are the highest-level of dialogue held by the two Koreas on a normal basis. At the 11th meeting in Seoul this July, North Korea indicated it may accept further multilateral dialogue on the nuclear crisis, paving the way for the realization of the six-way talks in August.

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