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Preliminary South Korea, North Korea talks said to go smoothly

PANMUNJOM, South Korea, June 9 (UPI) — Preliminary talks between South Korea and North Korea went smoothly Sunday and Cabinet-level talks are expected to proceed this week, government officials said.

Meetings at Freedom House in Panmunjom worked out technical and administrative details to lay groundwork for Wednesday’s meeting in Seoul, the first between the two countries since 2007, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The meetings Sunday were calm and no contentious issues came up, meaning nothing has halted the timeline for Wednesday’s talks, South Korean Ministry of Unification spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said.

A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “several more meetings may be needed [before] an agreement is finally ironed out.”

Seoul will be represented in Wednesday’s talks by Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae as chief negotiator, Yonhap reported. South Korea has asked the North to send Kim Yang-gon, head of the United Front Department of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, as its chief negotiator.

The talks will likely focus on the shuttered joint industrial complex in Kaesong, the resumption of cross-border tours and the reunion of families separated since the Korean War in the early 1950s.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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