North Korea accepts talks offer from South Korea, meeting to be held Jan 9

North Korea accepts talks offer from South Korea, meeting to be held Jan 9

SEOUL: North and South Korea will hold official talks on Jan 9, South Korea's unification ministry said on Friday (Jan 5), after Pyongyang sent a statement accepting Seoul's offer for talks next week.

"North Korea this morning faxed a message to our side, saying it accepts the South's proposal for talks on January 9," a ministry official told AFP.

The meeting will take place in Panmunjom, the truce village in the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.

The agenda will include the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as well as other issues of mutual interest, ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a regular briefing. 

The tentative rapprochement comes after the North's leader Kim Jong-Un warned in his New Year speech that he had a nuclear button on his desk, but at the same time offered Seoul an olive branch, saying Pyongyang could send a team to next month's Winter Olympics in the South.

Seoul responded with an offer of talks between the two, and earlier this week the hotline between them was restored after being suspended for almost two years.

Late Thursday, the South's president Moon Jae-In and his US counterpart Donald Trump agreed to delay joint military drills - which always infuriate the North - until after the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang which begin on Feb 9.

Source: Agencies/zl