US welcomes Korean accord for more talks

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Monday welcomed an agreement between North and South Korea to hold high-level talks later this week in Seoul after months of tension.

"We support and have always supported improved inter-Korean relations and will continue our close coordination with our allies and partners in the region and monitor this closely," State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said.

The accord came at marathon talks lasting into early Monday which were aimed at rebuilding trust after months of soaring tension and threats of nuclear war.

The first talks between the two rivals in more than two years ended with an accord for a two-day meeting in the South Korean capital from Wednesday, with topics for discussion including the future of a joint industrial complex.

The North effectively shut down the Kaesong complex earlier this year as the recent military tensions between the historic rivals peaked.

But Ms Psaki cautioned it was still too early to talk of renewing talks between the United States and North Korea as the West seeks to rein in Pyongyang's suspect nuclear programme.

"We continue to seek credible and authentic negotiations that lead to concrete steps towards denuclearization and that result in an enduring reduction in tensions on the Korean peninsula," Ms Psaki said.

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