S. Korea, DPRK agree to hold high-level talks on May 16

SEOUL, May 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have agreed to hold high-level talks on May 16 at the border village of Panmunjom, Seoul's unification ministry said Tuesday. 

High-level officials from the two sides will meet at Peace House, a South Korean building in Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas, to discuss ways to enforce the Panmunjom Declaration, according to the ministry's press release.

The Panmunjom Declaration was announced on April 27 after the third inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, agreeing to complete denuclearization and the alteration of the current armistice agreement to a peace treaty by the end of this year.

The two leaders had agreed to hold senior-level talks to discuss follow-up measures to enforce the declaration. The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in armistice.

Seoul proposed to hold the high-level dialogue on Monday, but Pyongyang made a counterproposal to hold such talks on Wednesday, which was agreed upon by South Korea Tuesday.

The five-member DPRK delegation, led by Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, will be composed of officials in charge of railway, sports and inter-Korean economic cooperation. The South Korean delegation will be headed by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.

Under the Panmunjom Declaration, the two Koreas agreed to connect and modernize railways and roads in the east transport corridor and between Seoul and the DPRK's northwestern city of Sinuiju. The two Koreas agreed to encourage exchanges, cooperation, visits and contacts at all levels to raise the sense of national reconciliation and unity.

To resolve humanitarian issues, the two sides will hold a reunion of families separated across the border around the Aug. 15 Liberation Day, when the Korean Peninsula was liberated from Japanese colonial from 1910-45.

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