South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon speaks to the media before departure for the high-level inter-Korean talks in Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 9, 2018. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea kicked off ministerial-level talks, their first in two years, at the truce village of Panmunjom on Tuesday, sending an encouraging signal of detente of inter-Korean relations. (Xinhua/Lee Sang-ho)
SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday kicked off a senior-level, inter-governmental dialogue in the truce village of Panmunjom, Seoul's unification ministry said.
The two sides started the plenary session at about 10 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) with a five-member South Korean delegation led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, and five delegates from the DPRK headed by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.
The DPRK chief delegate said he hopes for "precious results" from talks with South Korea, reported South Korean news agency Yohap.
Before leaving for the dialogue venue, the South Korean chief delegate told reporters that he will face the meeting "calmly and not hurriedly" to make the 2018 Winter Olympics a peaceful festival and take the first step towards improving the inter-Korean relations.
The South Korean delegation arrived at the Peace House, the dialogue venue in Panmunjom straddles the heavily guarded inter-Korean border, at about 8:46 a.m. local time (2346 GMT Monday).
The DPRK delegation arrived at a place near the Peace House at around 9:30 a.m. local time (0030 GMT), crossing the military demarcation line (MDL) on foot to the dialogue venue.