North Korea hasn't kicked its southern brother in the shins for a few weeks now, so the South is finally responding to Pyongyang's calls for talks. The South announced today that the two will hold "low-level and preliminary" military-level talks next week, and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak won't rule out the possibility of a summit with Kim Jong-Il. The main thrust of next week's discussions, however, will be to prepare an agenda for broader talks, notes the New York Times.
And South Korea's been down this road before, notes Lee: "Whenever North Koreans committed provocations, they made proposals for inter-Korean talks after a while. Every time they did so, they demanded rice and fertilizer from us." In a live TV interview, Lee said Pyongyang could give a strong signal of good faith by hacking its military budget, say 20% to 30%. "I will see whether North Korea has really changed," he said.