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Korean talks collapse before start

Planned talks between South and North Korea have collapsed a day before they were due to begin because of a stalemate over who will lead each delegation.

Seoul's Unification Ministry said that North Korea said it was not sending its officials because of the disagreement. South Korea had wanted each country's top official for inter-Korean affairs to meet. Pyongyang would not commit to that.

The two-day meeting, in Seoul, would have been the countries' first high-level meeting in six years and had briefly raised hopes of an improvement in ties. Recent relations have been marked with war threats.

The rivals were to discuss restarting two high-profile economic projects that were started during a past era of rapprochement.

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