Report: ROK to propose talks with DPRK
2009-Oct-12 11:14:16

SEOUL: The Republic of Korea (ROK) plans to propose talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) this week on preventing floods, a news report said Monday, after the latter's abrupt release of dam water down a river killed six in the ROK last month.

Yonhap news agency cited an unidentified Unification Ministry official as saying Seoul plans to propose that working-level officials of the two sides meet Wednesday to discuss how to prevent floods in the Imjin River running through their heavily armed border.

Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung could not immediately confirm the report.

The DPRK released a massive amount of water from a dam into the river September 6 without giving Seoul advance notice, triggering floods that swept six ROK residents who were camping and fishing downstream to their deaths.

The ROK demanded the DPRK explain why it opened the floodgates abruptly, and Pyongyang responded that it "urgently" had to release water because the water level at the dam was too high.

The two sides fought the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a cease-fire, meaning they are still technically at war.

Their ties had warmed significantly following the first-ever summit of their leaders in 2000, but soured again after conservative ROK President Lee Myung-bak took office early last year with a pledge to get tough with Pyongyang.

In recent months, the DPRK has sought to reach out to Seoul amid UN sanctions for its May nuclear test, toning down its threatening rhetoric, releasing detained ROK citizens and pledging to resume stalled joint projects.

The two sides last held talks in August and agreed to resume reunions of families separated by the war.

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