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Seoul seeks to put family reunions on N. Korea talks agenda

AFP  |  Seoul 

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

The talks will largely focus on the North's participation in next month's in the South, but the two sides are also expected to bring up their own issues of interest.

"We will prepare for discussions on the issue of separated families and ways to ease military tensions," told reporters, according to the agency.

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 and carrying out its sixth nuclear test, by far its most powerful.

Their tentative rapprochement comes after North Korea's warned in his New Year speech that he had a nuclear button on his desk -- but also said could send a team to the in Pyeongchang.

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 said the North's participation in Pyeongchang would strengthen the Games' profile as "a peace Olympics", reported, and could lead to further progress.

North Korea's has stopped condemning the South and instead called for "independent reunification" without relying on other countries such as the

"The master of improved inter-Korean relations is not the outsiders but the Korean nation itself," the North's official 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.

US said at the weekend that the rare talks between the two Koreas would go "beyond the Olympics" and that could join the process at a later stage.

Also in recent days, the and agreed to delay annual joint military exercises until after the Games, apparently to help calm nerves.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 08 2018. 13:55 IST