Talks between North, South Korea end after 20 minutes (Second Lead)

April 21st, 2009 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, April 21 (DPA) The first direct talks between the governments of North and South Korea in more than a year lasted for around 20 minutes Tuesday, South Korean officials said.
There were no details as to what had been discussed at the meeting, which took place in the North Korean border city of Kaesong at an industrial park operated jointly by the two neighbours.

The talks had initially been delayed because of differences over procedural issues, a spokeswoman for the South’s Unification Ministry said. Seoul’s delegation to the talks was unsure of who would take part from the North Korean side.

The short meeting took place several hours after the South Korean delegation’s arrival in Kaesong.

North Korea proposed the talks Saturday, saying it had an “important message” for South Korea about the industrial park.

In a visit to the Czech Republic, South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-Soo said before the Kaesong meeting that “today’s (Tuesday) talks are calming down the situation on the Korean peninsula”.

The talks were the first government-level discussions held between the two Koreas.

In October, North Korea threatened to close the park, which is one of the most visible signs of the reconciliation agreements signed between the two neighbours during the era of South Korea’s “Sunshine Policy” with the North.

North Korea’s military made the threat because of its objections to South Korean activists dropping propaganda leaflets in its territory.

The Kaesong industrial park allows firms from South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, to set up manufacturing facilities there and provide jobs for North Koreans.

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