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South Korea Eager to Open Talks with North Korea

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South Korea’s foreign minister said Thursday that the south-north dialogue for inter-Korean relations "cannot go separately" from South Korea -US joint efforts to deal with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile threats.

Kang Kyung-Wha was speaking during a meeting with US Forces Korea Commander Vincent Brooks and Senior US Diplomat to Korea Marc Knapper.

Kang said the South Korean President had asked the foreign ministry to ensure that South-North contacts go simultaneously with Seoul and Washington’s joint endeavors to resolve North Korean nuclear and missile issues.

In response, Knapper said in the meeting that the US is also waiting with "bated breath" to see how the North responds to the dialogue overture. 

He also noted, "We very much appreciate your President's commitment to advancing our shared goals of denuclearization along with aspirations for a North-South dialogue. So, we are also waiting with bated breath to see how the North responds to this latest opening."

Earlier this week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un floated the idea of better ties with South Korea in his new year's speech.

Seoul quickly offered to meet and talk, and on Wednesday the North announced that Kim views the South's offer positively and the two sides began preliminary contact on a newly reopened cross-border communication channel.

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