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North, South Korea agree to hold families’ reunion as planned

Warring neighbours North and South Korea on Friday agreed that they would hold a reunion for families divided by the Korean War as planned.

The two sides also agreed to stop exchanging verbal insults and to continue their nascent dialogue at a convenient date.

“Agreement was reached today after North Korea accepted our position that the family reunion event is important … as the first step to build trust,” South Korea’s chief talks delegate Kim Kyou-Hyun said.

The announcement was made by Seoul which came after rare, high-level talks between the two countries ended earlier today.

The decision came even as North Korea raised alarm over overlapping South Korea-US military drills.

“South and North Korea agreed to hold the reunion of separated families as scheduled,” South Korea’s chief delegate to high-level talks with the North, Kim Kyou-Hyun, told reporters.

The families reunion has been scheduled for February 20-25 at the North’s Mount Kumgang resort.

According to the South’s Unification Ministry, the meeting took place in the border truce village of Panmunjom. A total of two relatively short sessions have taken place, on Wednesday and Friday.

The two rounds mark the highest level North-South talks for seven years.

North Korea had earlier insisted that the South must postpone the February 24 start of its annual military drills with the United States until after the reunion is over.

The talks were the first substantive follow-up to statements by the leaders of both countries — South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and the North’s Kim Jong-Un — professing a desire for improved inter-Korean ties.

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