North, South Korea agree to restore military communication lines quickly

North and South Korea agreed Monday to restore inter-Korean military communication lines on the Sea of Japan and Yellow Sea sides as soon as possible, South Korea's Defense Ministry said. Monday's colonel-level meeting in Paju, a city just south of the border dividing the two Koreas, followed up on a June 14 agreement between generals of the two Koreas to fully restore the military communication lines. A military communication line on the Sea of Japan side was damaged in a forest fire in 2010 and needs to be re-established, according to the Defense Ministry. Military communication on the Yellow Sea side remains partially inoperative. (A S. Korean official communicates with his N. Korean counterpart)[Photo courtesy of the South Korean Unification Ministry] The colonel-level meeting, the first of its kind since 2011, lasted about an hour at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine office in Dorasan, Paju, according to the ministry. The South's delegation was led by Cho Yong Geun, an army colonel, while Col. Om Chang Nam led the North. The talks were held as a result of the summit in April between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In. In the Panmunjeom Declaration signed by the leaders, the two Koreas agreed to work to ease military tensions and "practically eliminate the danger of war" on the Korean Peninsula. The two Koreas are also holding other talks regarding economic projects. South Korea's Unification Ministry said Monday they will hold railway talks Tuesday, road-related talks Thursday, and a forestry industry meeting July 4. The railway talks will involve discussions on connecting and modernizing railways between the two countries, and the road-related talks on linking and modernizing cross-border roads. On Monday, South Korea also held an annual ceremony commemorating the start 68 years ago of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which began with North Korea invading South Korea. At the inter-Korean summit on April 27, Kim and Moon agreed to strive to declare this year a formal end to the war. The two Koreas remain technically in a state of war as the war ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty. At Monday's ceremony, Prime Minister Lee Nak Yeon said while working to achieve permanent peace on the peninsula, South Korea intends to cooperate with North Korea in recovering the remains of soldiers killed in the war. The United States and North Korea, whose leaders met for the first time earlier this month, have been making arrangements for the return of the remains of American soldiers who died or went missing in the war. On Saturday, the United States transported more than 100 wooden containers for remains to the border village of Panmunjeom, fueling speculation that North Korea may begin repatriating remains to the United States by the end of this month. The Korean War ceased with an armistice agreement signed on July 27, 1953, by the U.S.-led U.N. Command, North Korea and China.

1 hour ago | KYODO NEWS

Olympics: 2020 organizers set 300,000 yen cap for ticket prices: source

The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games plans to cap ticket prices at 300,000 yen ($2,720) while setting a minimum ticket price of 2,000 yen ($18), sources familiar with the matter said late Monday evening. According to the sources, the highest-priced tickets are for the Olympic Games opening ceremony. The most expensive ticket for a sporting event is expected to be 130,000 yen ($1,180) for athletics. The prices will be officially released after approval by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board in July. According to the initial plan, the cap was expected to be 288,000 yen with a minimum price of 2,600 yen, in line with prices at the 2012 London Olympics. But after several participants at a ticket sales strategy meeting last month suggested that the price range be broadened in order to accommodate different types of guests, organizers decided to set a higher price cap and lower minimum price. Other than general admission tickets, organizers are planning group discounts for schools and municipalities as well as VIP tickets with perks including food and beverage services. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale in the spring of 2019.

Jun 12, 2018 | KYODO NEWS