الإثنين , يونيو 15 2020

North Korean leader proposes talks

Passers-by at a Seoul train station watch Kim Jong-un's speechThe North Korean leader’s new year speech was also screened in the Soith

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has offered to hold talks at the highest level with South Korea.

President Kim was giving his new year message broadcast on state television.

He said if Pyongyang’s conditions were met, he would even be prepared to hold a summit meeting with South Korean President Park Guen-hye.

On Monday, South Korea called for dialogue to resume on a number of issues, including reunions for families separated by the Korean War.

“Depending on the mood and circumstances, there is no reason not to hold a high-level summit,” President Kim said.

But the BBC’s Kevin Kim in Seoul says it is unclear how likely a meeting between the two Korean presidents would be, given that military tensions between the countries have been high in recent months

On Monday, South Korea’s Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said that “North and South Korea should meet face to face to draw up a plan for a peaceful unification”.

The North has previously seen the South’s unification plans as an attempt to take it over.

Mr Ryoo said he hoped North Korea “responds positively” to the suggestion.

He offered to meet in Seoul, Pyongyang or any other South or North Korean city agreed with North Korean officials.

The last formal high-level talks were in February 2014, leading to rare reunions for Korean families separated for over 60 years since the end of 1950-53 Korean War.

More talks planned in October were dropped after North Korea accused the South of not doing enough to stop activists sending anti-Northern leaflets across the border on balloons.

The two Koreas have technically been at war since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

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