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Updated: July 15, 2010 19:31 IST

North Korea, UN Command agree on talks

IANS
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South Korean Army soldiers walk by a signboard showing distances to North Korea's capital Pyongyang and that for South's capital Seoul at the Imjingang railway station in Paju, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, South Korea, on Thursday. Photo: AP.
South Korean Army soldiers walk by a signboard showing distances to North Korea's capital Pyongyang and that for South's capital Seoul at the Imjingang railway station in Paju, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, South Korea, on Thursday. Photo: AP.

North Korea and officers from the U.S.—led UN Command on Thursday agreed “in principle” to hold “general—level talks”, in their first meeting since the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Both sides made proposals in the border village of Panmunjom to hold talks between officers of the rank of general, a UN Command (UNC) statement said. “Both sides agreed to confirm details of the proposed follow—up talks after consulting with their respective superiors.”

“It means that the two sides agreed in principle to hold general—level talks,” the Yonhap news agency quoted a UNC official as saying.

No new date has been set for the next meeting.

The aim of the session was to arrange later meetings between generals to discuss the sinking of the corvette Cheonan, which went down near the disputed maritime border between North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea with the loss of 46 lives.

The parties were originally due to meet on Tuesday but North Korea cancelled it for “administrative reasons” and later offered to hold talks on Thursday.

An investigation by an international team concluded that the explosion that sank the ship was caused by a North Korean—made torpedo. Pyongyang has denied any involvement.

The UN Security Council had issued a statement condemning the sinking and noted the investigation’s conclusions but without accusing North Korea directly.

The UN Command is tasked with ensuring both Koreas observe the ceasefire that ended the three—year conflict between them in 1953, although no treaty has been signed formally to end the war.

The U.S. have around 28,500 soldiers in South Korea.

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