Government delegates from North and South Korea began preparatory talks today in Panmunjom aimed at setting ground rules for a higher-level discussion on easing animosity and restoring stalled rapprochement projects. The meeting is the first of its kind in more than two years. Success will be judged on whether the delegates can pave the way for a summit between the ministers of each country's department for cross-border affairs, which South Korea has proposed for Wednesday in Seoul. Such ministerial talks haven't happened since 2007.
"Today's working-level talks will be a chance to take care of administrative and technical issues in order to successfully host the ministers' talks," said South Korea's unification policy officer. "The development of South and North Korean relations starts from little things and gradual trust-building." During morning talks, the delegates discussed the agenda for the ministerial meeting, location, date, the number of participants and how long they will stay in Seoul, if the meeting is held there. A Unification Ministry spokesman told reporters that there were no major disputes and the talks would continue. Ministerial talks would likely focus on reopening the factory park in Kaesong that was the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, and on other scrapped rapprochement projects and reunions of families separated by the Korean War. (Read more North Korea stories.)