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(LEAD) Vice minister visits inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong

North Korea 16:53 January 22, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES 2nd para with Suh's departure)

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho headed to the inter-Korean liaison office in North Korea's border town of Kaesong on Wednesday, though no meeting with his North Korean counterpart was planned, officials said.

Suh's two-day trip to the office came amid Seoul's push to expand inter-Korean exchanges, but the vice minister, who serves as the South Korean head of the office, does not plan to meet his North Korean counterpart during the visit.

The liaison office was launched in 2018 to support exchanges and cooperation between the two Koreas following the summit agreement between their leaders in April that year.

They agreed to hold a weekly meeting of co-heads of the office -- one from each side -- but such a meeting has not been held since February last year amid chilled cross-border relations.

In his press conference for the new year, President Moon Jae-in said South Korea will not sit idle waiting for Pyongyang-Washington dialogue to bear fruit and will expand inter-Korean cooperation to help the nuclear talks move forward.

A ministry official earlier said South Korea is mulling ways to hold discussions with the North about allowing its people to travel to the communist nation on an individual basis.

This photo filed March 24, 2019, shows the joint liaison office set up by South and North Korea in the North's border town of Kaesong, following the summit agreement between their leaders in April the previous year. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)


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