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S. Korea proposes inter-Korean talks on pest control at N.K. ancient tombs
SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has proposed holding working-level talks with North Korea later this month on joint pest control near ancient tombs in the North, an official said Wednesday, in an apparent bid to help ease lingering tension on the divided Korean Peninsula.

   The offer was delivered to the North Tuesday via the border village of Panmunjom, which separates the two Koreas, the official from the Unification Ministry said.

   The North told the South through a Panmunjom channel it has not received a reply from Pyongyang, the official said.

   The move came a week after Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik said Seoul was considering providing support to the North for effective pest control near the ancient tombs, which also have historical significance to South Korea.

   The Complex of Koguryo tombs, located in the North's cities of Pyongyang and Nampo, consists of 30 individual tombs from the late period of the Koguryo Kingdom, which controlled the northern half of the Korean Peninsula and northeastern China for more than 700 years until 668 A.D.

   The relics, along with murals inside the tombs, became the first UNESCO World Heritage site in the communist North in 2004, in recognition of their historical and aesthetic value.

   Last month, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said it will help North Korea eradicate pests in forests near the ancient tombs.

   entropy@yna.co.kr
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