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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 09:51 GMT
Korean PMs begin historic talks
North Korean Prime Minister Kim Yong-il on arrival in Seoul
Kim Yong-il will spend three days in the South Korean capital
Prime ministers from North and South Korea have met for the first time in 15 years, in talks aimed at improving ties on the divided peninsula.

North Korean Prime Minister Kim Yong-il will spend three days in the South Korean capital, Seoul, in discussions with counterpart Han Duck-soo.

Talks are expected to focus on joint economic projects and a sea border row.

The meeting follows October's historic summit in Pyongyang between the two countries' presidents.

The summit, between the North's Kim Jong-il and the South's Roh Moo-hyun, was only the second such meeting since the Korean peninsula was partitioned over half a century ago.

The two presidents signed an accord calling for greater peace and economic partnership, despite the two countries remaining technically at war with each other.

Warming relations

The prime ministers will now use their meeting to discuss more specific proposals.

1910: Korean Peninsula colonised by Japan
1945: Divided into US-backed South and Soviet-backed North
1950-1953: Korean War, no peace deal signed
1987: North Korea bombs a South airliner, killing 115
1990s: South Korea introduces conciliatory Sunshine Policy
2000: Kim Jong-il and Kim Dae-jung hold first leaders' summit
2007: Kim Jong-il and Roh Moo-hyun hold second leaders' summit

One key issue is the establishment of a joint fishing area around the disputed western sea border - the scene of naval clashes in the past - and a new economic zone around the North Korean port of Haeju.

Other matters include management of a joint industrial zone in the border city of Kaesong, and increasing the number of reunion meetings for families separated when the peninsula was split.

Mr Kim, speaking at the start of the talks, described the meeting as historic and said he thought the talks would "go very well".

Prime ministerial meetings between the two Koreas were suspended in 1992 amid growing concern over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

But in February, North Korea agreed to end its nuclear programme in return for aid. It is currently in the process of disabling its main reactor at Yongbyon.

The BBC's Daniel Griffiths in Seoul says the meeting between the prime ministers is another sign of warming relations between North and South Korea.

But he says the mood could change in December if the South Korean presidential election is won by conservative Lee Myung-Bak, who has pledged to take a tougher line against North Korea.

Prime Minister Kim Yong-il arrives in South Korea

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