01/05/2018, 09.04
KOREA
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Pyongyang accepts Seoul's outstretched hand: talks on January 9th

The two Koreas will meet in the demilitarized zone on January 9th. Postponement of US-South Korea military exercises to facilitate meeting. Seoul seeks to restore inter-Korean relations without distancing US ally.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Pyongyang has accepted Seoul's outstretched hand and agreed to sit down at the negotiating table. This was announced today by the South Korean Unification Minister: the two Koreas will meet on January 9 in the village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarized area. On the agenda there will be the participation of the North at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the improvement of relations between the two countries of the Korean peninsula. The preliminary details for the dialogue will be defined through the exchange of documents.

According to experts, Pyongyang's decision to accept Seoul's offer to dialogue was favored by the postponement of the US-South Korea military exercises, confirmed yesterday by the presidents of the two countries. In fact, Pyongyang has always defined these exercises as a provocation.

South Korea is looking at the easing of tensions with its neighbour to the North, reaffirming its intention not to go against the punitive sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by the international community. Yesterday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke with his American colleague Donald Trump confirming his position on the pressure to be exercised on Pyongyang.

Baik Tae-hyun, the South Korean spokesman for the ministry, affirms that "there is no change in the government position" and its commitment to re-establishing inter-Korean relations and at the same time pushing for "the denuclearization of North Korea together with the international community ."

The first glimmer of a possible easing of tensions between the two Koreas opened with the beginning of the new year, when the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed his willingness to send his own delegation to the Olympic Games scheduled for February in South Korea.

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