Two Koreas agree on rare volcano talks next week

The Associated Press
Thursday, March 24, 2011; 4:00 AM

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea says scientists from the two Koreas will meet next week to discuss joint research into an active volcano extolled in the North as the sacred birthplace of leader Kim Jong Il.

The talks could spark a rare bit of cooperation between the Koreas.

North Korea offered last week to discuss joint research on volcanic activities at its Mount Paektu, the highest peak on the peninsula. South Korea later proposed the countries' civilian experts discuss the matter at a South Korean border village on March 29.

Seoul's Unification Ministry says the North agreed Thursday to the offer, saying it will send three volcanologists to the meeting.

The volcano last erupted in 1903, but minor earthquakes increased there between 2002 and 2005.

© 2011 The Associated Press