Two Koreas begin preliminary military talks

Updated: 2011-02-08 11:06


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SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People 's Republic of Korea (DPRK) began Tuesday preliminary military talks aimed at discussing holding high-level military talks in their first major contact following the artillery exchange between the two sides near a ROK's island in November last year, the defense ministry said.

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The colonel-level talks, started at 10:00 am local time in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean peninsula, are expected to discuss the venue, date and agenda of the high-level military talks possibly involving defense ministers from the two sides.

The working-level talks come amid lingering tension on the divided peninsula following a series of acts by Pyongyang Seoul has denounced as provocative, including its alleged sinking of a ROK's warship and shelling of an inhabited island, which altogether killed 50.

The DPRK has denied its responsibility for the fatal warship sinking and claimed its artillery shelling was for self-defense against ROK and US forces then engaged in a large-scale drill near a disputed maritime border off the west coast of the peninsula.

ROK, previously dismissive of repeated calls from its northern neighbor for dialogue, accepted last month Pyongyang's proposal to hold talks to discuss pending military issues after the Chinese and US leaders urged inter-Korean dialogue at their recent summit meeting in Washington.

Seoul also recently proposed separate inter-Korean talks aimed at confirming Pyongyang's commitment to ending its nuclear program. Pyongyang has yet to officially respond.


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