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Seoul: Rival Koreas end senior-level meeting

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HYUNG-JIN KIM | February 12, 2014 12:12 PM EST | AP

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The highest-level talks between the rival Koreas in years have ended with little progress.

Officials say that's because North Korea called for the delay of annual military drills between Seoul and Washington set for later this month.

Seoul officials said the meeting was requested by North Korea, which has launched a recent charm offensive after raising tensions last spring with repeated threats to fire nuclear-tipped missiles against Seoul and Washington.

Later this month, the two Koreas are to hold reunions of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War. It would be the first such reunions in more than three years.

During Wednesday's meeting, South Korea stressed to North Korea that the smooth arrangement of the scheduled family reunions is a first step toward improving inter-Korean ties, according to a statement issued early Thursday by the South's Unification Ministry, which is responsible for ties with North Korea.