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North Korea asks South to 'open hearts,' resume several talks

By the CNN Wires Staff
Small-scale skirmishes have flared repeatedly along their land and sea borders over the past six decades.
Small-scale skirmishes have flared repeatedly along their land and sea borders over the past six decades.
  • North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency publishes statement
  • KCNA: North Korea would like to resume talks with South Korea
  • South Korean officials will meet Saturday on proposal

(CNN) -- South Korean officials tell CNN that they're reviewing a call for resumption of talks between Pyongyang and Seoul that was published by North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency Saturday.

The statement from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea suggested several steps that could be taken to calm tension between north and south.

It expressed a desire for "settling the grave situation prevailing in Korea as early as possible and paving the way for improved relations between the north and the south and peace and prosperity." The statement cited both patriotism and "public opinion at home and abroad" as reasons that dialogue should be resumed.

A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry told CNN's Kyung Lah that officials are working to understand the motivation behind the statement. High-level officials will hold an internal meeting Saturday to analyze it.

In the statement, the North Korean government proposed an "unconditional and early" opening of the talks between Pyongyang and Seoul, as well as a resumption of various other dialogues that had been abandoned as relations between the two worsened, according to KCNA.

The statement called for a resumption of suspended Red Cross talks, as well as discussions about two inter-Korean cooperation projects -- the Mount Kumgang tourism zone and the Kaesong Joint Industrial Park.

A Red Cross passage between the north and the south at Panmunjom should be reopened as well, according to the statement.

In the flowery language that is typical of DPRK statements, officials asked that authorities in the south "should discard any unnecessary misgiving, open their hearts and positively respond to the north's proposal."

Relations on the peninsula grew increasingly frosty in 2010. South Korea accused North Korea of firing on a warship in March and in November, North Korea's military opened fire on the disputed Yeonpyeong Island, killing two South Korean marines.

CNN's Kyung Lah and Ben Brumfield contributed to this report

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