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Restart of high-level talks key to inter-Korean ties: minister

South Korea's point man on North Korea emphasized the importance of another round of high-level contact between the two sides on Tuesday, saying it could put inter-Korean relations into a fresh phase.

"If the South and the North hold talks, almost all issues can be resolved," Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae said in a lecture here to a meeting of the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation.

He voiced hope that Pyongyang will return to the bargaining table as it had agreed to do.

The North agreed to hold the second vice ministerial meeting since the launch of new leadership in the both nations between late October and early November. The deal was the only tangible fruit of the top-level North Korean delegation's unexpected trip here on Oct. 4. It was led by Hwang Pyong-so, apparently the North's number two official after leader Kim Jong-un.

The first round of high-level talks was held in February, ending without a major agreement.

Last week, the South offered to hold the second round on Oct. 30, but the North has not responded.

The North's military has taken back-to-back provocative acts, raising doubts about inter-Korean ties.

The minister said the North should translate its words into action. "Otherwise, the two sides' relations will move slowly," he pointed out.

For now, a South Korean official said, the government is keeping close tabs on the North's move, analyzing its intent. (Yonhap)

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