North and South Korea talks
Head of South Korean delegation for an inter-Korean working-level talks, Chun Hae-sung (2nd R) and a South Korean delegate (R) greet Chun's North Korean counterpart Kim Song-hye (2nd L) and a North Korean delegate at the "Peace House" on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom (Reuters)

North and South Korea have agreed to hold ministerial level talks in the coming week after delegates from both countries met for the first time in nearly two years in Panmunjom.

The talks were part of a bid to ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula. They took place in the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas and went smoothly, with no contentious issues being raised on either side, suggest reports.

Seoul sent three delegates to the meeting, which was initiated by Pyongyang. From North Korea, Kim Song-hye, a veteran in inter-Korean relations and senior official, was sent to participate in the talks.

"The two sides shared the same understanding in regards to the ministers' meeting. Views exchanged are being discussed by both sides, and if both sides come to an understanding, an agreement will be reached," said spokesman Kim Hyung-suk.

The objective of the working-level talks was to pave the way for further discussions between the two countries.

A future meeting of government officials is expected to discuss a variety of issues, but the specifics remain unclear.

"There is a need to build trust from small issues and the South's goal is to keep faithful to the principle of the 'trust building' process for the Korean Peninsula," said Chun Hae-sung, who is leading the Seoul delegation, ahead of the talks.

The talks began following the shutdown of the Kaesong industrial complex, the inter-Korean economic zone.

Relations between the two Koreas hit a new low following North Korea's missile and nuclear tests. A war of words followed, escalating existing tensions in the region to a point where some feared a real war might erupt.

The North Korean climbdown is seen as a clever diplomatic tactic.

"The North Korean offer has all of the hallmarks of Pyongyang's diplomacy. Pyongyang is 'sincerely' and 'magnanimously' inviting the South to fix, and pay for, problems of the North's own creation," Stephen Haggard, an expert on North Korean affairs at the Peterson Institute of International Economics, told Aljazeera.