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International relations

North Korea refuses to budge on nuclear stance in talks with South

The two sides agree to military talks, Pyongyang to send athletes to Olympics

SEOUL -- North Korea maintained the upper hand in its momentous talks with the South on Tuesday, refusing to budge even an inch on its pursuit of nuclear weapons program, signaling further challenges ahead for Seoul's efforts to resolve the standoff.

On the whole, the first inter-Korean talks since December 2015 were a civil affair. Ri Son Gwon, head of the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, said at the outset that he sought meaningful results -- a "New Year's gift" to his people. Seoul's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon agreed that the South would do its best to ensure that present was a good one. Each led a delegation of five officials.

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