North and South Korea agree to reduce tension in high level talks

SEOUL: North and South Korea are holding high-level talks in the Kaesong joint industrial zone on the North Korean side of the border. It is the latest in a series of steps to improve relations after a tense standoff in August. The confrontation began when two South Korean soldiers were seriously hurt by landmine explosions along the border. It escalated to threats of war and a brief exchange of fire across the border. Tension only eased when the two sides met for lengthy discussions at which they agreed to resume previously suspended talks and restart family reunions. As Friday's meeting will only be attended by vice-ministers, it is unlikely that they will discuss the most serious issues in the two countries' often tense relationship. The official agenda of the meeting has not been made public however, analysts suggest they may discuss more regular reunions between families separated by the Korean War. The resumption of South Korean tours to the North's Mount Kumgang resort, suspended in 2008, may also be discussed, reports said.(BBC)