North and South Korea have completed bilateral talks and issued a joint statement calling for a sustained effort to improve their relationship. However, representatives from both sides did not on Thursday announce any type of agreement on the most serious issue in the region these days -- the North's nuclear program.
As part of the agreement, &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/region/2002/07/23/33046.html ' target=_blank>South Korea also plans to ship 200,000 tons of fertilizer to North Korea, according to the statement.
Officials from both countries plan to hold talks June 21-24 in Seoul and a South Korean delegation is to attend festivities in North Korea to mark the fifth anniversary of a joint summit between both nations.
Representatives from both countries had been meeting in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, tells CNN News. According to the Christian Science Monitor, since &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/98/387/9965_nkorea.html ' target=_blank>North Korea asserted officially in February that it possessed nuclear warheads and was building more, a sense of impending crisis has deepened. The North's announcement last week that it is planning to extract weapons-grade plutonium rattled the international community, as have questions over whether it intends to conduct a nuclear test.
But ongoing disputes over how best to engage Kim Jong Il's regime - and Pyongyang's ability to exploit those differences - have foiled progress on "six-party talks," last held in Beijing a year ago, even as the North continues to press for much-needed humanitarian aid.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969