updated 4/23/2005 7:21:35 AM ET 2005-04-23T11:21:35

South Korea and North Korea agreed Saturday to resume talks that broke down last summer and to discuss the standoff over the North’s suspected development of nuclear weapons, an Indonesian official said.

The decision came during a meeting between South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan and North Korea’s No. 2 man, Kim Yong Nam, on the sidelines of an Asian-African summit in Jakarta, said Jacob Tobing, Indonesia’s ambassador to South Korea.

The meeting was the second at the summit between the two leaders and addressed key issues including attempts to persuade Pyongyang to return to six-party talks aimed at getting North Korea to suspend its nuclear program.

“They agreed to resume the inter-Korean dialogue ... and they agreed to exchange views over the six-party talks,” said Tobing, who was at the conference with the South Korean delegation.

“We know they both need this kind of meeting so we (Indonesia) offered to facilitate it. I’m very satisfied. At least one step has been taken but there is a lot work ahead,” he said.

First high-level contact since 2000
The first meeting Friday was the highest-level contact between the two Koreas since a summit in 2000 between then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Officially the inter-Korean talks have been on hold since July after mass defections to South Korea from the North that Pyongyang labeled the “kidnapping” of its citizens.

Earlier Kim Sang Soo, the information attache at the South Korean embassy in Jakarta, confirmed a meeting took place but refused to provide details.

Neither leader spoke to reporters as they left the talks, which lasted about half an hour.

The leaders agreed Friday on the need for the two countries to work together on territorial claims on a set of islets at the center of a dispute between South Korea and Japan, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said. The rocky islets are called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.

Annan's hopes
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is also attending the Asian-African summit, told reporters he hoped diplomatic attempts to induce North Korea to rejoin the six-party talks would soon succeed.

Asked how the U.N. Security Council would react if the North tested a nuclear device, Annan said: “I hope we will dissuade North Korea (and) that North Korea will not take this action.”

The Koreas were divided in 1945. Their border remains sealed and heavily guarded by nearly 2 million troops on both sides following the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

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