South Korea offers high-level talks to North Korea

The South's minister overseeing North Korean affairs, Ryoo Kihl-jae Image copyright AP
Image caption The South's minister overseeing North Korean affairs, Ryoo Kihl-jae, made the offer at news conference

South Korea has offered to resume high-level talks next month with North Korea on a range of issues, to prepare for a "peaceful unification".

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said he especially hoped to discuss the reunion of families separated by the Korean War more than 60 years ago.

There has been no response yet from Pyongyang.

The North has previously seen the South's unification plans as an attempt to take it over.

"North and South Korea should meet face to face to draw up a plan for a peaceful unification," Mr Ryoo told a news conference.

"For this purpose, we make an official proposal for the North Korean government to have a conversation about mutual concerns between North and South in January next year."

The minister said he hoped North Korea "responds positively" to the suggestion.

He offered to meet in Seoul, Pyongyang or any other South or North Korean city agreed with North Korean officials.

The last formal high-level talks were in February, leading to rare reunions for Korean families.

More talks planned in October were dropped after North Korea accused the South of not doing enough to stop activists sending anti-Northern leaflets across the border on balloons.

The two Koreas have technically been at war since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

More on this story