North, South Korea to hold first talks in over a year

April 21st, 2009 - 1:24 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr.21 (ANI): North and South Korea are preparing to hold their first official talks for over a year, amid rising cross-border and regional tensions. A team headed by an official from Seoul’s unification ministry crossed the heavily fortified border for the meeting at a joint industrial estate just north of the frontier, reports The Telegraph.

Tuesday’s meeting comes amid icy cross-border relations and threats from Pyongyang’s military.

The North is furious with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, who has abandoned a policy of providing almost unconditional aid to the communist state.

Regional tensions are also rising after the North’s purported satellite launch on April 5, widely seen overseas as a disguised missile test.

The North, angry at UN censure of the launch, has announced it is quitting nuclear disarmament talks and restarting its atomic weapons programme. It has expelled US and UN nuclear inspectors.

Following the launch South Korea announced it would push ahead with plans to join a US-led initiative against shipments of weapons of mass destruction.

The North says any move by its neighbour to join the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) would be seen as a declaration of war.

Analysts believe the North will try to force the South to choose between PSI and the future of Kaesong, using the detainee as a bargaining chip. (ANI)

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