Koreas open joint office
THE two Koreas have opened their first liaison office near their tense border to facilitate better communication ahead of their leaders’ summit in Pyongyang next week.
The office’s opening at the North Korean border town of Kaesong is the latest in a series of reconciliatory steps the Koreas have taken this year. The office is the first of its kind since the Koreas were divided at the end of World War II.
North and South Korea so far used telephone and fax-like communication to arrange talks and exchange messages. But those have been often suspended when tensions rose over the North’s nuclear program.
In an opening ceremony at Kaesong, South Korea’s Unifi- cation Minister Cho Myounggyon said the office will become the “cradle of Korean co-prosperity”.
“We’ll sit face-to-face, exchange our thoughts fast and accurately and put our heads together to resolve difficult matters,” he said in remarks distributed by his office.
About 15-20 South Korean officials are expected to stay at the office and a lodging facility in Kaesong during weekdays and take turns staffing the office on weekends, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry.
They will deal with North Korean officials stationed at the office to discuss various inter-Korean issues, exchange messages and facilitate civilian exchange programs.