UPDATE : 2018.9.19 WED 18:18
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Koreas to hold flurry of talks over sports, family reunions, railway connections

The two Koreas are set to hold a series of talks on sports, reunions of separated families, railway and road connections and forestry cooperation in the coming weeks, officials said Sunday, a reminder of the ongoing thaw in cross-border ties.

On Monday, they will meet at Peace House, a South Korean building in the truce village of Panmunjom, to discuss sports-related issues, such as their teams' joint march at the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, slated for August.

At the talks, they may also discuss other issues, such as forming unified teams for the Asian Games and holding an inter-Korean basketball match, which North Korean leader Kim Jong-un proposed during his April 27 summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

On Friday, the two sides will hold Red Cross talks at Mount Kumgang to discuss the reunions of families separated since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War on the occasion of the Aug. 15 Liberation Day.

They are expected to fine-tune details of the date and the scale of the reunions and seek more practical solutions to the humanitarian issue of divided families, including a project to verify whether family members are still alive.

Seoul has also been seeking to hold separate meetings with Pyongyang later this month on road and railway connections and forestry cooperation.

In the April summit declaration, the two sides agreed to adopt "practical steps" towards the connection and modernization of the railways and roads on the eastern transportation corridor, as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju.

The South, in addition, will step up efforts to build an inter-Korean liaison office in the North Korean border city of Kaesong. It reportedly plans to open a temporary office in Kaesong this month as an initial step for the construction of the liaison office.

Along with government efforts to bolster cross-border exchanges, civilian exchanges are also expected to increase.

A South Korean civic group dedicated to fostering inter-Korean cooperation has applied for a trip to the North next week to discuss civilian exchanges. The Seoul government is expected to approve its trip.

The planned talks are expected to strengthen an inter-Korean detente that emerged from sports diplomacy at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February.

Kim Sua  edt@koreapost.com

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