North and South Korea conclude talks without issuing a statement

By Kim Tong-hyung, AP

SEOUL–North and South Korea ended two days of extensive high-level talks at a North Korean border town Saturday without issuing a statement or scheduling another meeting, leaving a mixed signal about reconciliation efforts they’ve made since stepping away from a military standoff in August.

No major breakthrough had been expected from the meeting of vice-ministerial officials in the town of Kaesong, but analysts had considered the talks a sign that the rivals were working to keep alive an atmosphere of dialogue — something they have often failed to do in the wake of conflict.

After the talks stretched in the evening on Saturday, as they had done on Friday, they ended without any statement from either side. The countries were also unable to fix a date for a further meeting, South Korean officials said.

South Korea was hoping to discuss at the meeting more reunions between aging family members separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. Analysts had said cash-strapped North Korea might seek the South’s commitment to restart joint tours to its scenic Diamond Mountain resort that were suspended by Seoul in 2008 following the shooting death of a South Korean tourist there by a North Korean soldier.