This week, North and South Korea held the first substantial, direct conversation between the two countries in years. The suggestion to meet was first extended by the North last week, and representatives for the two countries met in the truce village of Panmunjom on the border.
The talks come as South Korea and the United States prepare to hold joint military drills, a program that North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un see as a sign of aggression. North Korea's ambassador to the UN said Tuesday that the drills are "of a sinister and dangerous nature." On Monday, North Korea rescinded an invitation for a U.S. diplomat to visit the country to negotiate the release of American citizen Kenneth Bae.
The two sides met early Wednesday morning, although it is unclear exactly what was discussed in the closed-door meeting. High-ranking officials are among the rosters on both sides. "The South Korean delegation is led by President Park Geun-hye's deputy national security adviser [Kim Kyu-hyun]," reports Reuters. "North Korea has sent the second-highest ranking official in the ruling Workers' Party department charged with ties with the South."
Kim (the South Korean delegate) said that there was no predetermined agenda for the talks, but that he would focus on the upcoming family reunions. Next week, families in both countries, separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War, are expected to meet for a brief reunion.