Seoul: The foreign ministers of North and South Korea held an unofficial meeting on Saturday on the sidelines of a regional security dialogue in Indonesia, a news agency reported.

In the first such encounter since 2008, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan and his North Korean counterpart Pak Ui-Chun chatted on their way to a conference hall at the ASEAN security forum in Nusa Dua, reports said.

"Before entering a session of the ASEAN Regional Forum this morning, Minister Kim had a brief talk with Pak," the agency quoted an unnamed South Korean official as saying.

The encounter came a day after the two countries' nuclear envoys held an unexpected, rare meeting and agreed to resume multilateral talks on curbing the North's nuclear programme at the earliest possible date.
   
The meeting between South Korean nuclear envoy Wi Sung-Lac and his counterpart from the North, Ri Yong-Ho, also offered hope the rival nations may be willing to start improving ties after more than a year of high tensions.

"I had a very constructive and useful conversation with my counterpart," Wi said after what were the first-ever direct talks on nuclear issues between the two sides outside the six-nation format. North Korea's Ri was similarly upbeat.

The six-nation talks, involving the two Koreas, China, the United States, Japan and Russia, are a tortuous process aimed at convincing the North to give up its nuclear programme in return for diplomatic and economic rewards.

 The last round ended in a familiar stalemate in December 2008. The North formally abandoned them in April 2009, blaming alleged US hostility for its withdrawal, and staged its second nuclear test a month later.

Top diplomats from South Korea, the United States and Japan meanwhile planned to meet on Saturday to co-ordinate their joint approach to North Korea, said reports.

(Agencies)