Koreas agree to hold working-level military talks Feb 8

Seoul, Feb 2 (Yonhap) South and North Korea agreed tohold working-level military talks on Feb 8, officials said, inwhat would be their first dialogue since the North''s deadlyartillery attack on a border island last November.

North Korea sent a notice to the South''s defense ministryearlier in the day, proposing the new date for the preliminarytalks, and the South accepted it in a reply message, ministryofficials said yesterday.

"Both sides also agreed that the working-level militarytalks will involve colonel-level officers from the two sides,"an official said.

The talks will be held at the border truce village ofPanmunjom separating the two Koreas.

The meeting is aimed at setting the date, place andagenda for higher-level military talks, possibly at the levelof defense ministers.

The preliminary talks are expected to be led by Col MoonSang-gyun of the South and Col Ri Son-kwon of the North, whohave served as representatives for working-level militarytalks from each side for years, the official said on thecondition of anonymity.

Tensions persist on the Korean Peninsula after theNorth''s artillery strike on Yeonpyeong Island killed twomarines and two civilians. The bombardment came after amultinational investigation concluded that North Koreatorpedoed a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors lastMarch.

South Korea had originally suggested that theworking-level talks take place on Feb 11, but North Koreawanted to bring the talks forward by 10 days.

The agreement on the new date for the preliminary talkscame a day after the South rejected the North''s demand for anearly meeting. (Yonhap)

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