Koreas to seek deal for formal end to Korean War

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Seoul, Oct 4: The leaders of North and South Korea will pledge today to seek talks with China and the United States to formally end the 1950-1953 Korean War, Yonhap news agency quoted an official as saying.

The two Koreas will soon release a joint statement to mark the end of only the second-ever summit of the states forged at the start of the Cold War, which will contain pledges to seek an end to the 1950-1953 conflict, the South Korean official said in Pyongyang.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il signed a joint statement but details have not yet been released, South Korean media pool reports said.

The armistice that concluded their fratricidal battle was signed by China, North Korea and US-led United Nations forces, but not by South Korea.

US President George W Bush has said he can discuss a peace treaty once the North scraps its nuclear weapons programme.

Yonhap also said the joint agreement will contain pledges to establish a cooperation zone around a contested naval border and for freight trains to cross into a South Korean industrial park in the North.

''This is an event that will open a new horizon between North and South Korea,'' presidential spokesman Kim Jeong-suob told reporters earlier in Seoul.

Giving a lift to the talks, China announced late yesterday that North Korea had agreed with regional powers to disable its nuclear facilities -- a source of atomic weapons material -- by the end of the year, a major step in normalising relations with the outside world.


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