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Korean generals to meet, can set up rail links

Written by: Staff

Seoul, May 12: South and North Korean generals, who have had few meetings in the past, will hold talks next week on measures to ease tension and possibly set up rail links across the heavily militarised border, Seoul said today.

South Korea is keen to set up a system for trains to cross the border. Tracks run from the South and into North Korea, but South Korean officials have said the North's powerful military was reluctant to sign off on a plan for through trains.

After the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in a truce and not a peace treaty, military officials from the two Koreas did not meet for decades.

But generals met twice in 2004 and once this year, agreeing on measures such as setting up hotlines and taking down propaganda signs. Ties have warmed in recent years between the two Koreas, which are still technically at war.

The generals will meet for three days from next Tuesday, the South's defence ministry said.

Generals from the two Koreas failed at a meeting in March to find ways ways to facilitate crossings at land borders and establishing joint fishing grounds near a disputed nautical border in the Yellow Sea.

Naval clashes in fishing grounds in the Yellow Sea in past years have killed or wounded scores of sailors on both sides.

Separate two-day working-level talks on the railway links are scheduled to end today in the North Korean town of Kaesong just north of the border.

Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung is expected to visit the North in June for a rare meeting with the North's leader Kim Jong-il, and he had hoped to travel by train.


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