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Two Koreas begin volcano talks amid strained ties

North Korean delegation arrive to hold a meeting with their South Korean counterpart to discuss a joint research on volcanic activity at the North's highest Paektu mountain, at the Inter-Korean Transit Office in Paju, South Korea, Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Experts from the two Koreas have begun rare talks on an active volcano touted in the North as leader Kim Jong Il's sacred birthplace. North Korean delegation arrive to hold a meeting with their South Korean counterpart to discuss a joint research on volcanic activity at the North's highest Paektu mountain, at the Inter-Korean Transit Office in Paju, South Korea, Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Experts from the two Koreas have begun rare talks on an active volcano touted in the North as leader Kim Jong Il's sacred birthplace. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
March 28, 2011

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SEOUL, South Korea—Experts from North and South Korea have begun rare talks about research into an active volcano touted in the North as leader Kim Jong Il's birthplace.

Tuesday's talks were arranged after North Korea offered to discuss joint research on its Mount Paektu earlier this month amid worries over natural disasters following Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

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

The talks may be an attempt by the North to improve strained ties between the divided Koreas.

Seoul's' Unification Ministry says geologists and volcanologists from the Koreas are meeting at the South Korean border village of Munsan.

Details of the meeting weren't immediately available.

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