N.Korea, S. Korea military talks break down over 'The Cheonan' sinking controversy

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Beijing, Oct 1(ANI): The first military talks in two years between the North Korea and South Korea reportedly ended without progress on Thursday, as Pyongyang refused to apologize for the sinking of 'The Cheonan,' an ROK warship.

According to China Daily, the talks were held with an intention to ease the prevailing tensions between the two countries but broke down in two hours over "The Cheonan" sinking controversy. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) reportedly denied the accusations and expressed hope that the talks should instead focus on humanitarian issues.

"The ROK strongly urged the DPRK to apologize for and punish those responsible for the attack on the Cheonan warship", the Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Inter-Korean ties worsened since Pyongyang conducted several missile and nuclear tests in recent years. The military exchange came to a pause after the last such meetings took place on October 2, 2008. Mutual distrust even deteriorated as Seoul, with the backing of Washington, asserted that Pyongyang was involved in torpedoing its warship, which North Korea vehemently denied.

Although Pyongyang had within the last months expressed its conditional willingness to be back at the negotiating table, the ROK had persistently set Pyongyang's apology for the Cheonan incident as a prerequisite for a resumption of the stalled Six-Party Talks. (ANI)

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