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Korea talks end without nuke deal


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North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear reactor is seen in a satellite image.
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SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- 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, 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.

Earlier pool reports from the meeting said South Koreans brought up the nuclear issue, with concern over the resumption of six-party talks.

In another development, a U.S. Embassy official in Tokyo said U.S. and North Korean officials had "working-level contact" last Friday at the United Nations in New York.

However, the content of their exchange was not about negotiations, according to a U.S. Embassy official in Tokyo.

The American diplomats used the meeting to convey messages about U.S. policy on North Korea, the U.S. official said.

The meeting was the first face-to-face contact between the two countries since last December and comes just two weeks after North Korea's official news agency published its government's request for a private meeting.

The United States has been trying to persuade North Korea to return to six-nation talks over its nuclear program. Along with the two Koreas and the United States, China, Russia and Japan are the other countries that had been involved in those discussions.

Seoul Bureau Chief Sohn Jie-Ae contributed to this report.


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