Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Reuters

North Korea has proposed talks with South Korea to be held on Nov. 26 at the truce village on their militarized border, the North's official KCNA news agency said Friday.

The talks, if held, would be the first government-level meeting focused on easing tension since the two sides agreed to improve ties following an armed standoff in August.

The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, its main agency handling inter-Korean ties, proposed to hold working-level contact for government talks, KCNA said.

An official at South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles ties with the North, confirmed receiving Pyongyang's proposal and said it would soon make a decision on whether to accept it, possibly later Friday.

A border guardpost on Yeonpyeong, a South Korean island.YONHAP / EPA

The South has proposed to hold government talks on several occasions following the agreement on Aug. 25, which ended a standoff that involved an exchange of artillery fire amid an escalation of tension following landmine blasts at the border.

The North expressed regret over the landmine incident that wounded South Korean soldiers, which Seoul blamed on Pyongyang. The South said the North's expression of regret was in effect an apology, although Pyongyang subsequently denied it.

"Now we’re back on again, the game’s afoot," John Delury, a North Korea expert at Yonsei University in Seoul, said, adding the proposal for working-level talks would ease the way for the two sides to get on with discussions.

"Sometimes these talks break down before they even start over what level to send, so this sounds like a very pragmatic and straightforward approach," he added.