BUSAN, South Korea – South Korea moved to moderate expectations of a sudden breakthrough in inter-Korean relations after the surprise visit of the highest level North Korean delegation ever on Saturday.
Led by a close adviser of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, the group held talks with South Korea’s national security adviser and other top officials. The main topic was the performance of both Koreas at the Asian Games, which ended Saturday with a closing ceremony attended by the North Korean group.
The two sides also agreed to hold further talks about cross-border issues in coming weeks, ending a diplomatic standoff since early this year and raising expectations about rapprochement. Those hopes were reinforced by television coverage showing the two sides laughing and joking with each other.
The weekend meeting was a “small but meaningful step” for inter-Korean relations, a senior official from the South’s Unification Ministry said on Monday.
“It’s significant that South and North Korean officials had an opportunity to open dialogue,” the official said.
Preparations are under way for renewed talks on issues such as reunions of families separated by the Korean War, the official said. The lineup of officials that will meet and the location hasn’t been decided.