South Korea will seek discussions on resuming reunions of separated families at this week's inter- Korean talks, Seoul's top delegate said today, as the North trumpeted the importance of achieving reunification.
The two Koreas agreed last week to hold their first official dialogue in more than two years and will meet Tuesday at the border truce village of Panmunjom.
The talks will largely focus on the North's participation in next month's Winter Olympics in the South, but the two sides are also expected to bring up their own issues of interest.
Because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a formal peace treaty, the two Koreas remain technically at war.
Tensions soared last year as the North made rapid progress on its banned weapons programmes, launching ballistic missiles it said are capable of reaching the United States and carrying out its sixth nuclear test, by far its most powerful.
Their tentative rapprochement comes after North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un warned in his New Year speech that he had a nuclear button on his desk -- but also said Pyongyang could send a team to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Seoul responded with an offer of talks, and last week the hotline between the neighbours was restored after being suspended for almost two years.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha said the North's participation in Pyeongchang would strengthen the Games' profile as "a peace Olympics", Yonhap reported, and could lead to further progress.
"The master of improved inter-Korean relations is not the outsiders but the Korean nation itself," the North's official Korean Central News Agency said at the weekend.
"The flunkeyism and idea of dependence on outside forces are the venom which makes the nation slavish and spiritless," it added.
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