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South, North Korea hold 2nd round summit talks
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South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean top leader Kim Jong-il continued their formal summit talks in Pyongyang on Wednesday afternoon.


The second round of talks began at around 2:30 PM (0530 GMT) at the Paekhwawon State Guest House after Roh and Kim had respective lunch recess, the Yonhap news agency reported.


Their first round of talks was held in the morning, beginning at around 9:30 AM (0030 GMT), and lasted more than two hours.


During the first round of talks, they engaged in in-depth discussions on measures to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula and cross-border economic cooperation.


A South Korean official said in the afternoon that Kim Jong-il proposed to extend Roh's visit by one day until Friday, and the South Korean side will discuss the proposal and make a decision soon.


The summit is the second of its kind since the peninsula was divided more than half a century ago. Roh's predecessor, Kim Dae-jung, traveled to North Korea for the first inter-Korean summit in June 2000.


Earlier, a spokesman for Roh told reporters in Seoul that Kim Jong-il and Roh were joined by South Korean Finance Minister Kwon O-kyu, Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung, Director of the National Intelligence Service Kim Man-bok and the DPRK's Director of the United Front Department of the Workers' Party, Kim Yang Gon, at Wednesday morning's meeting.


According to the spokesman, Roh and Kim will plant a tree at the central arboretum of Pyongyang Wednesday afternoon to memorize the second inter-Korean summit and watch a mass dance and musical spectacle, the Arirang, later in the day. The performance features synchronized maneuvers by thousands of dancers and giant flip-card mosaic.


The two sides will hold working-group meetings Wednesday to explore ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation in seven areas, including economy, culture, religion and politics, said the spokesman.


Growing economic cooperation has been a highlight of the warming relations between the North and South since the first inter-Korean summit. Joint projects have been launched in tourism, industry and other fields, including tours of Mt. Kumgang and the industrial zone in the North's border city of Kaesong.


The South Korean president is also scheduled to visit some industrial sites Thursday before wrapping up his three-day visit, which is likely to culminate with the issuance of a joint statement or a declaration of peace Wednesday night or Thursday morning.


Roh, who traveled some 200 km overland to Pyongyang Tuesday and was greeted by Kim at a festive ceremony upon arrival, met North Korea's top legislator, Kim Yong Nam Tuesday afternoon.


(Xinhua News Agency October 3, 2007)

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