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Two Koreas to meet amid rising tensions

  • Story Highlights
  • North and South Korea to hold rare talks over industrial complex
  • Meeting comes amid international tensions over North's nuclear plans
  • Talks are first since South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office
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SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- Government officials from South Korea will visit North Korea on Tuesday to hold the first talks in a year, state media said.

The talks come at a tense time when North Korea is trying to restart its nuclear facilities and after the communist nation apparently test-fired its long-range missile, the Taepodong-2, under the guise of launching a satellite into space.

The talks, which are the first since South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office in February last year, were proposed by North Korea, the Yonhap news agency said Sunday.

The communist nation said it sought to address "issues related to the Kaesong industrial complex," Yonhap said. The complex is a collaborative venture between the two nations.

The delegation is led by a top official of the Kaesong project, Lee Jong-joo, a Unification Ministry spokeswoman, told Yonhap.

"About 10 officials involved in the Kaesong complex are scheduled to visit Kaesong," Lee said, according to Yonhap. "Our main concerns are centered on the safety of our citizens in the Kaesong complex and its stable development."

Rapprochement talks between the two have hit a wall since the conservative South Korean leader took office with a tougher stance toward the North than his liberal predecessor Roh Moo-Hyun.

The two countries have technically remained in conflict since the Korean War ended in 1953, although relations have warmed somewhat in the past few years. The Korean conflict ended in a truce, but no formal peace treaty was ever signed.

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