N. Korean premier in Seoul for talks
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea’s premier arrived today in Seoul for the first prime ministerial talks with South Korea in 15 years, to discuss implementing a wide-ranging reconciliation agreement that their leaders signed at a summit last month.
Kim Yong Il was scheduled to hold three days of talks with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo. The two sides last held prime ministerial talks in 1992 that were suspended amid the first crisis over the North’s nuclear weapons program.
Han is the deputy of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. In North Korea, the premiership is among several high-level positions, but it ranks below leader Kim Jong Il and No. 2 official Kim Yong Nam.
This week’s talks are aimed at fleshing out an agreement that Roh and the North Korean leader signed at their October summit in Pyongyang – only the second such meeting since the Korean peninsula was divided more than half a century ago.
That accord calls for greater peace and economic cooperation across the world’s most heavily fortified border.