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S. Korea invites North to int'l security talks in Seoul in September

All Headlines 11:52 July 17, 2015

SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea invited North Korea on Friday to join international security talks of vice defense ministers slated for September in Seoul, the Defense Ministry said, raising hopes for a rare inter-Korean contact and fence-mending.

South Korea has asked the North Korean Ministry of the People's Armed Forces to send a vice minister to the Seoul Defense Dialogue scheduled to run from Sept. 9-11 at a hotel in the capital city, a ministry official said.

The invitation was delivered to the North Korean side through their telephone line at the west coast border earlier in the morning, he noted.

"Since the launch of the SDD in 2012, it is the first time South Korea has invited North Korea," the official said.

The invitation called on the North to "discuss a variety of agenda items on peace and security, as well as global issues," the official added.

It is unclear if the North will accept the invitation amid unrelenting diplomatic and military tension between the rival Koreas.

The countries' rare government-level talks held a day earlier to settle a wage issue over their jointly run Kaesong Industrial Complex ended with the two countries refusing to budge.

A total of 33 countries are to attend the international meeting of vice defense ministers, intended to discuss regional security. The U.S., China, Japan, Russia and other participating nations will send their vice defense ministers to the meeting.

The occasion may bring together rival Korea's vice ministers for rare bilateral talks.

"Seoul leaves open the possibility of bilateral talks as the invitation is intended to build mutual trust and facilitate dialogue," the official said.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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