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S Korea accepts North talks offer
South and North Korea agreed to hold high-level military talks weeks after tension between them reached fever pitch.
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 13:38 GMT
South Korea accepted to hold high-level military discussions amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula [EPA]

South Korea has accepted high-level military talks from North Korea, after Pyongyang requested a meeting to discuss "pending issues" following months of raised tensions.

A defence ministry spokesman said on Thursday that a decision has not been made yet on whether the talks would be held at the ministerial level.

"The government also plans to propose high-ranking talks on denuclearisation," the spokesman said.

Kim Yong-chun, the North's defence minister, sent the proposal to Kim Kwan-Jin, his counterpart in the South, a ministry spokesman told AFP news agency.

Cross-border relations worsened sharply when South Korea accused the North of torpedoing one of its warships last year, killing 46 sailors, a charge Pyongyang denies.

Tensions high

Tensions rose even higher after the North bombarded a South Korean border island in November, killing four people, including two civilians.

However, in a change of tack this year, the North has been calling for talks, but Thursday's offer was the first proposal for a high-level meeting.

Seoul has dismissed previous peace overtures as insincere.

It says the North must take "responsible measures" over past provocations and promise not to repeat them, as well as confirming it is serious about nuclear disarmament, before any dialogue can take place.

Source:
Agencies
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