Seoul (AFP) March 24, 2011
South and North Korean experts will hold talks next week on their first joint research into volcanic activity in the peninsula's highest mountain, officials said Thursday.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday at a South Korean office near the cross-border buffer zone, the unification ministry said.
The North said in its message to Seoul that three seismic experts and two aides would take part in the meeting, the ministry said.
Pyongyang's earthquake bureau had proposed joint research, citing concerns about activity at Mount Paekdu on the border between North Korea and China following a monster quake in Japan.
North Korea considers the mountain as a sacred site where its leader Kim Jong-Il was allegedly born. Schoolchildren are required to visit the mountain to pay respect to the ruling Kim dynasty.
Since its last eruption in 1903, the 2,740-metre (8,990-foot) mountain has been inactive. But experts say it may have an active core, citing topographical signs and satellite images.
The iconic mountain contains nearly one billion tonnes of water, which could deluge surrounding areas and spark chaos in North Korea.
Unification minister Hyun In-Taek said the joint research, if well coordinated by both sides, could develop into "a whole new level" of cross-border projects.
Relations have been icy since the South accused the North of torpedoing a warship in March 2010 with the loss of 46 lives. Pyongyang denies the charge, but went on to shell a South Korean island last November, killing four people.
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S. Korea and North agree volcano research talks
Seoul (AFP) March 22, 2011
South Korea on Tuesday agreed to Pyongyang's offer to hold joint research into volcanic activity in the peninsula's highest mountain, suggesting officials meet next week in a rare sign of cooperation. The South's proposal of talks follows heightened concerns about activity at Mount Paekdu since a massive quake-tsunami engulfed the Japanese coast on March 11, killing at least 8,805 people and ... read more
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