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Military talks likely to be first inter-Korean dialogue following visit by N.K. leader's sister: official

All Headlines 11:21 February 13, 2018

SEOUL, Feb. 13 (Yonhap) -- Military talks are expected to be the first formal dialogue between South Korea and North Korea following an unprecedented visit to the South by a high-level delegation that included the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a presidential official said.

While agreeing to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the North also agreed during last month's talks with the South to hold military talks. But the two sides haven't decided when to hold what is expected to be a working-level military meeting.

How inter-Korean relations will move ahead after the Olympics is a key focus of attention after the North's high-level delegation paid a visit from Friday through Sunday that significantly warmed cross-border ties, which had been badly frayed due to nuclear and missile tensions.

"The South and the North are expected to move ahead with what has already been agreed first," a Cheong Wa Dae official told Yonhap News Agency by phone. "There is a high possibility of the two sides holding working-level military talks first and then raising the level (of talks) gradually."

The official also said humanitarian aid to the North is expected to be on the back burner as the North is negative about it.

Relations between South Korea and North Korea have warmed rapidly in recent weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's Day address that the country was willing to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The two Koreas have since worked out the details, and the North has sent not only athletes but also hundreds of other people as part of a cheering squad and an art troupe. The North's leader also sent his only sister as well as the country's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, to the South.

The delegation paid a visit to South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday and delivered the leader's invitation for him to visit the North. Moon said in response that he hopes the right conditions will be created so that the proposed visit can take place.

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