S.Korea proposes high-level dialogue with Pyongyang

Seoul, Jan 2 (IANS) South Korean authorities on Tuesday proposed a high-level dialogue with North Korea on January 9 in the truce village of Panmunjom.

“The government proposes holding a senior-level inter-governmental dialogue of the South and the North (Koreas) on January 9 at the Peace House in Panmunjom,” Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told a press conference.

The Peace House is a building in Panmunjom controlled by South Korea, reports Efe news.

The dialogue overture comes a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year address that Pyongyang was willing to take necessary measures, including dispatch of delegation to the South Korea-hosted Winter Olympics.

Cho anticipated that the two Koreas would frankly discuss issues of mutual concern, inter-Korean relations as well as the issue on North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in South Korea’s PyeongChang county in February .

The minister said communication channels between the two Koreas in Panmunjom should be restored immediately to hold the inter-Korean, inter-governmental talks, suggesting to discuss details on the January 9 dialogue, such as setting agenda and forming delegations through the restored communication channels.

All inter-Korean communication channels have been severed since the previous South Korean government under impeached President Park Geun-hye decided unilaterally to close down the Kaesong Industrial Complex in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January 2016.