North and South Korea: finish of bilateral talks

North and South Korea have completed bilateral talks and issued a joint statement calling for a sustained effort to improve their relationship. However, representatives from both sides did not on Thursday announce any type of agreement on the most serious issue in the region these days -- the North's nuclear program.

As part of the agreement, &to=http:// ' target=_blank>South Korea also plans to ship 200,000 tons of fertilizer to North Korea, according to the statement.

Officials from both countries plan to hold talks June 21-24 in Seoul and a South Korean delegation is to attend festivities in North Korea to mark the fifth anniversary of a joint summit between both nations.

Representatives from both countries had been meeting in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, tells CNN News. According to the Christian Science Monitor, since &to=http:// ' target=_blank>North Korea asserted officially in February that it possessed nuclear warheads and was building more, a sense of impending crisis has deepened. The North's announcement last week that it is planning to extract weapons-grade plutonium rattled the international community, as have questions over whether it intends to conduct a nuclear test.

But ongoing disputes over how best to engage Kim Jong Il's regime - and Pyongyang's ability to exploit those differences - have foiled progress on "six-party talks," last held in Beijing a year ago, even as the North continues to press for much-needed humanitarian aid.

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