SEOUL, South Korea – The two Koreas agreed to resume stalled high-level talks later this month in Pyongyang after a seven-month hiatus, officials said Thursday, amid signs of easing tensions on the divided peninsula after the North signed a breakthrough disarmament agreement.
The Cabinet-level talks — the highest dialogue channel between the two Koreas — will be held in the North's capital from Feb. 27 through March 2, according to a joint statement adopted at a meeting in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.
The high-level talks were last held in July, but have since been suspended due to the North's anger over South Korea's halt of aid after the communist nation's missile tests.
The talks — which usually serve as a forum for discussion on Seoul's aid to the impoverished North — could lead to a resumption of the regular delivery of rice and fertilizer to the communist nation.
The agreement Thursday to resume inter-Korean talks comes after the nuclear agreement, reached earlier this week among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.
The disarmament pact requires North Korea to seal it main nuclear reactor, allow international inspectors and begin accounting for other nuclear programs within 60 days. Within that time, more talks are planned on ending the hostilities between North Korea and the U.S. and Japan.
In return, North Korea will receive 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, a modest down payment on a promised 1 million tons in oil or aid of a similar value if it ultimately disarms.