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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

All Headlines 16:00 July 19, 2019

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

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S. Korea launches project to jointly inscribe DMZ on UNESCO heritage list with North

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has initiated a project to inscribe the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on UNESCO's World Heritage List jointly with North Korea, following their first collaboration on a UNESCO inscription last year.

South and North Korea had their millennium-old traditional form of wrestling, "ssireum," inscribed on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in November last year, the first-ever joint inscription on the list by the two states.

The listing was made possible amid warming inter-Korean relations following the two Koreas and UNESCO's behind-the-scenes negotiations to merge the countries' separate bids.

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N. Korean wooden boat found off S. Korea's eastern coast

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- A wooden boat believed to be from North Korea was found right off the east coast on Friday, but nobody was aboard, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The Coast Guard found the small boat some 30 meters away from the shore in the northeastern town of Goseong, Gangwon Province, at around 10:37 a.m., while patrolling the area, the JCS said.

The town is about 20 km from the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto sea border with the North.

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Discussions on sanctions exemptions under way for Seoul's food aid for N. Korea

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- Discussions are currently under way with the United States to get sanctions exemptions for South Korea's plan to send food aid to North Korea, a government source here said Thursday.

The Seoul government and the World Food Programme (WFP) are trying to secure a number of ships that will be used to transport 50,000 tons of rice to the impoverished state struggling with worsening food shortages, he added.

"Negotiations are under way between the WFP and the U.S. on sanctions exemptions that are needed for ships and other equipment to be used in delivering the food to the North," the source told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity.

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Vice minister to visit liaison office, no weekly meeting planned

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho will visit the inter-Korean liaison office in North Korea's border town of Kaesong this week, but there will be no meeting with his North Korean counterpart, the ministry said Thursday.

Suh's trip to the office Friday is aimed at meeting his workers stationed there and reviewing its operation, according to the ministry.

It will be the second time for the vice minister, who also serves as South Korea's head of the office, to visit there since taking office in June. His North Korean counterpart is Jon Jong-su.

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Minister says it's time to hold high-level talks with N. Korea

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Thursday that it is necessary for the two Koreas to hold high-level talks to push forward stagnant cross-border relations.

"Now is the time for high-level talks (between the two Koreas)," Kim said in an interview on a radio show. "A comprehensive review is under way to determine such issues as when and what agenda items should be discussed."

Asked if Seoul has made an official offer for talks with the North, Kim said that a proposal should be made when it can be accepted, adding that he is looking into various relevant factors.
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