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Inter-Korean joint liaison office to start operations on Friday Updated: 2018-09-12 10:47:23 KST

The South Korean government has made it official that the two Koreas will open their joint liaison office this week at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, just north of the border.
For more, let's connect to our unification ministry correspondent Oh Jung-hee.
Jung-hee, fill us in.

Ji-yoon, the ministry announced this morning that the joint liaison office will start operations on Friday right after an opening ceremony is held earlier in the day.
The ceremony is to take place on Friday morning and 50 to 60 officials each from both sides of the border will be attending.
The office will be in charge of overseeing constant contact between the two Koreas, discussions for inter-Korean talks and providing support for civilian exchanges.
South Korea's unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon and his North Korean counterpart, Ri Son-gwon who heads the North's reunification committee, will be signing and exchanging an agreement on this matter.
Heading the office will be vice ministerial-level officials from the two Koreas.
South Korea will be appointing the vice unification minister Chun Hae-sung as its head.
North Korea plans to appoint its vice-head of the reunification committee as Chun's counterpart.
These South and North Korean heads of office will serve as representatives whenever meetings take place.
Officials from South Korea's land, forest, culture ministries will also be staying at the joint liaison office -- for discussions on their railway and road connections, forestation projects, as well as culture and sports exchanges.

So a grand opening, indeed.
Jung-hee, tell us more about how this joint liaison office came about.
It was part of the Panmunjom Declaration signed by the leaders of the two Koreas in April.

You're right.
When President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met for the first time in April, they agreed to establish a joint liaison office in the North Korean city of Kaesong.
The idea was to have officials from South and North Korea stay there and remain in constant person-to-person contact so they can closely coordinate on civic exchanges and more.
At the high-level talks after that April summit, Seoul and Pyeongyang narrowed the venue down to the Kaesong Industrial Complex -- a joint factory park they ran together until February 2016.
Because the buildings have not been used for two years, they've worked together to renovate the facilities since July.
South and North Korea initially planned to open the office by the end of August, but that was delayed partly as North Korea had some domestic events to prepare for and as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's fourth visit to Pyeongyang was cancelled.
The unification ministry says the office is expected to contribute greatly to keeping inter-Korean relations stable and helping North Korea-U.S. nuclear negotiations.
Seoul also said the two Koreas aim to ultimately set up resident representative offices in each other's capitals.
Ji-yoon.
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