Two Koreas to restart talks next week


North and South Korea agreed today to restart high-level talks and so pave the way for food aid to resume after this week's energy-for-disarmament deal with Pyongyang.

Officials from the two Koreas, which are technically still at war, agreed to hold ministerial talks in Pyongyang on February 27th.

Talks were frozen and the South suspended food and fertiliser aid to its neighbour in the wake of Pyongyang's defiant missile and nuclear tests last year.

The easing in tensions follows Tuesday's six-country agreement in Beijing on dismantling the communist state's nuclear arms programme.

A South Korean news report said nuclear negotiators Kim Kye-gwan of North Korea and the US State Department's Christopher Hill would visit each other's capital soon.

The deal struck by the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia requires the communist state to shutter its Yongbyon reactor within 60 days in exchange for 50,000 tonnes of fuel oil or equivalent aid.

After the 60-day period, North Korea would receive another 950,000 tonnes of fuel oil, or equivalent aid, when it takes further steps to disable its nuclear capabilities.