Two Koreas agree to meet on summit preparations next week

South Korea says North Korea agrees to hold high-level talks

-South Korean military drills that infuriate North Korea will begin on April 1, the allies said Tuesday, but they will likely be more low-key than past years ahead of two highly anticipated summits among the countries' leaders.

The South Korea Unification Ministry said the North had responded to an inquiry made through the Panmunjeom communications channel and would be sending a delegation led by Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country.

He attended the games along with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong.

The timing and size of the annual maneuvers are especially sensitive this year because of heightened worry over the North's accelerated work last year on a nuclear-armed missile potentially capable of reaching the United States.

Concerts featuring South Korean performers in North Korea next month have been titled, "Spring Comes".

South Korea on Wednesday had proposed holding high-level talks with the North to discuss details including the summit's dates and agenda.

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The Kim-Moon talks are expected to lay the groundwork for a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart expected to take place by the end of May.

"Also ready to help is a group of North Korean defectors that we met on a recent trip to Asia", reported FEBC.

There is considerable skepticism about both sets of talks, with some analysts and conservative politicians noting that North Korea has reneged on every deal it has ever signed. It criticized current and former officials and experts in the USA and Japan, along with conservatives in South Korea, for suggesting Pyongyang is feeling the sting of increasingly tough sanctions.

As diplomats scurry to arrange the North-South talks as well as the proposed Trump-Kim meeting, the North's silence has raised concerns over its intentions.

The North on Saturday accepted the South's proposal to meet at Panmunjom, the Unification Ministry statement said.

In a surprising turn of events linked to the Winter Olympics, held in South Korea in February, North Korea first invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to a summit with Kim, planned for late next month in the demilitarized zone that divides the Korean Peninsula.

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