South Korea's lead official for engagement with North Korea on Wednesday sought to temper any optimism that relations with Pyongyang might drastically improve over the near term, Agence France-Presse reported.
The two Koreas recently agreed to resume joint-economic activities at the Kaesong business complex, which has been shuttered since the spring breakdown in bilateral relations.
"There is no quick solution to a lot of pending issues," South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said to reporters. "We will have to solve them gradually, step-by-step."
The South will continue to maintain a state of high-military readiness to respond to any attacks from the North, the minister said, adding, "There will be a resolute response to any provocation."
Other regional countries, though, were more optimistic that the recent thawing in inter-Korean ties could lead to the resumption of moribund multinational negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
"An opportunity or a window has emerged to open talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue," Chinese Defense Ministry External Affairs Director Guan Youfei, was reported to have said to journalists during a visit to the Pentagon.