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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Seoul, Pyongyang to hold first military talks in 2 years on Thursday

RIA Novosti

07:51 29/09/2010 MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - South Korea and North Korea will hold military talks on Thursday, the first in about two years, the Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday.

North Korea has sent a message to Seoul, in which is agreed to hold the working-level military meeting at the village of Panmunjom at the inter-Korean border on the date proposed by the South, the news agency said, quoting a source in the North Korean Defense Ministry.

The talks will take place amid tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship in the Yellow Sea which Seoul has blamed on the North.

"The talks will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow and issues raised by both sides will be discussed," Yonhap quoted its source as saying.

South Korea reportedly proposed to discuss North Korea's responsibility for the sinking of the Cheonan corvette and how to ease tensions at the disputed sea border between the countries.

Seoul and Pyongyang remain technically at war, since no peace treaty was signed following the Korean War in 1953. The so-called Demilitarized Zone between the countries is the most heavily armed border in the world.

Strained ties between Seoul and Pyongyang soured even more after Seoul accused Pyongyang of sinking the 1,200-ton Cheonan corvette. The vessel sank near the disputed Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea on March 26 causing the loss of 46 lives.

The North Korean leadership has denied the accusations, demanding apologies from Seoul.

In recent weeks, North Korea has made some peace overtures toward Seoul, releasing a South Korean fishing boat seized at a disputed sea border and offering to reunion families separated across the border since the 1950-53 war, Yonhap said.

Thursday's talks will take place in the village where the 1953 armistice was signed.

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