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Rival Koreas agree to meet for low-level talks at border village next week


SEOUL, South Korea — The rival Koreas on Friday agreed to hold talks next week as part of a previous deal aimed at improving ties in the wake of a military standoff in August.

The talks among working-level officials at a border village next Thursday are aimed at preparing for higher-level negotiations the Koreas have agreed to hold, according to Pyongyang's state media and Seoul's Unification Ministry.

Resuming high-level talks was among a set of agreements the sides struck after they averted the bloodshed they had threatened each other over land mine blasts blamed on Pyongyang that maimed two South Korean soldiers.

As part of those agreements, the Koreas last month arranged reunions of families separated by war for the first time since early 2014.

Despite the reunions, there are continuing animosities between the Koreas, which share the world's most heavily fortified border since their 1950-1953 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

South Korean officials said they've proposed working-level talks three times before North Korea offered to meet at the northern side of the border village of Panmunjom next Thursday. Later Friday, South Korea's Unification Ministry issued a statement saying it told the North it had agreed to its proposal.

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