North, South Korean officials meet in fresh bid to improve ties

SEOUL - Senior officials from North and South Korea met for talks on Friday to discuss improving ties and resuming cooperation projects, like cross-border tours, stalled amid tensions that have remained high for nearly six years.
South Korean Vice Unification Minister Hwang Boogi met with the North's Jon Jong Su, a vice director of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, at the jointly-run Kaesong industrial zone a few miles north of their border.
The meeting was the first forum for high-level discussions over a range of issues following an agreement in August that ended an armed standoff involving an exchange of artillery fire across their border.
The North was expected to seek the resumption of cross-border tours from the South to its Mount Kumgang resort, a once-lucrative source of cash for the impoverished state that was suspended in 2008.
Seoul in turn was expected to try to get Pyongyang to agree to hold reunions of war-separated families on a regular basis, a top humanitarian priority for the South, where more than 60,000 mostly elderly people are looking for relatives in the North.
"Between South and North, there are many issues to discuss and resolve. We will do our best to work them out step by step," Hwang, the chief South Korean delegate, told reporters before boarding a bus to cross a land border into Kaesong.
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