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South Korean Official Urges Realism on Expectations About North

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.

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