Koreas sign agreements on further co-operation

SEOUL (Reuter) - Communist North and capitalist South Korea inched closer towards detente yesterday by reaching three agreements in Pyongyang - after the North deferred key sticking points for future discussion - on establishing four commissions, which will deal with a range of projects, including military, economic, political, social and cultural co-operation.

'We have now taken another giant step towards opening an era of reconciliation and co-operation,' said Chung Won-shik, South Korea's Prime Minister, on signing the treaties, which go into effect immediately. But he was disappointed over failure to remove the greatest obstacle to normalisation - reciprocal nuclear inspections. Nor did the Koreas make progress on the emotional issue of reuniting families divided since the 1950-53 Korean War. 'It is regrettable that such urgent issues are left unresolved,' Mr Chung said.