23 Aug 2009

North Korean envoys hold talks with South's president

8:23 pm on 23 August 2009

North Korean envoys in Seoul to mourn the death of a former president have held their first talks with the current leader of South Korea since he took office about 18 months ago.

North Korea has to date all but cut off ties with President Lee Myung-bak, calling him a "traitor to the state" in anger at his government's policies of ending unconditional aid and linking handouts to Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament.

Sunday's meeting lasted about 30 minutes.

North Korea staged a nuclear test in May and test-launched missiles, acts that were met with tightened U.N. sanctions and further isolation.

Kim Ki-nam, who headed the current North Korean delegation, told reporters the meeting "went well".

There was no immediate word from the South on the content of the meeting.

A state funeral for former president Kim Dae-jung in Seoul was attended by more than 20,000 people, reported the BBC.