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Friendly skies: North-South Korea flights to start soon, if UN grants Kim's request

Friendly skies: North-South Korea flights to start soon, if UN grants Kim's request
United Nations aviation agency directors will visit North Korea next week to discuss Pyongyang's request to establish air routes to South Korea.

Officials from the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will conduct a 'joint mission' to consider the proposal, the UN agency said on Friday.

"ICAO's Asia and Pacific Regional Director, Mr. Arun Mishra, will be conducting a joint mission with ICAO's Director of Air Navigation Bureau, Mr. Stephen Creamer, to the DPRK next week, where this request will be further discussed among other air navigation and safety matters," Anthony Philbin, ICAO's chief of communications, said in an emailed statement to Sputnik.

The initial request was sent to the ICAO's Asia and Pacific Regional Office by the General Administration of Civil Aviation of North Korea in February, asking for a new air route between the two countries. The request has been supported by the air authorities of the South, according to the ICAO's statement.

Currently, there's no direct air transportation between North and South Korea. There have been some charter flights between Seoul and Pyongyang in the mid-2000s, but they ceased to operate due to strained relations between the two countries.

The charter flights in question were used by tourists and separated Korean families to meet relatives across the border. Such services were halted with the end of the so-called Sunshine Policy by South Korea in 2008.

READ MORE: US troops to remain in South Korea even if peace treaty signed with North – Moon

The relations between the two Koreas have been improving rapidly since the beginning of this year, as the North and the South engaged in direct negotiations. The leaders of the two countries held a landmark summit on April 27, agreeing to work together to end the Korean War, which has been continuing de jure since 1950s.

Apart from national reconciliation, South Korea's president Moon Jae-in and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un agreed to seek denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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