NKorea agrees to resume joint projects with SKorea | world | Hindustan Times
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NKorea agrees to resume joint projects with SKorea

world Updated: Aug 17, 2009 13:10 IST
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North Korea announced on Monday that it would resume reunions of families separated by the border with South Korea and restart stalled tourism ventures in its latest gesture of conciliation after nearly 18 months of rising tensions.

The North, however, said separately it was putting its army on "special alert" because of South Korea's joint military drills with the United States this week, a sign that hostility and distrust between the rival countries remain high.

The official Korean Central News Agency said in a dispatch early today that it agreed to restart tours to the scenic Diamond Mountain resort and ancient sights in Kaesong in the North. The tours had been suspended amid rising tensions that followed the inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul early last year.

The conservative Lee angered Pyongyang by taking a tougher line than his predecessors on keeping North Korea accountable to its commitments on nuclear disarmament.

The report did not give exact dates for when the tours would resume, but said it would be soon.

KCNA said the North also agreed to resume reunions of families separated by one of the world's most heavily fortified borders at Diamond Mountain on this year's annual "Chuseok" autumn harvest holiday October 3.