SEOUL: ‘ North and South Korea Hold First Top-Level Military Talks Behind Close Doors ‘
#AceNewsServices – SEOUL – October 15 – South and North Korea held their first high-level military talks in seven years on Wednesday, but failed to reach agreement on pending issues such as inter-Korean clashes near the tense western maritime border, Seoul’s defence ministry said.
“The two representatives of both countries held the closed-door contact involving military officials from 10 a.m. at the truce village of Panmunjom after North Korea proposed the meeting to discuss the recent exchange of fire between their patrol boats in the Yellow Sea,” defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.
The meeting, which ended at 3:10 p.m., failed to produce any meaningful agreements “due to the differences between the two sides,” he added.
Last week, South and North Korean patrol boats briefly exchanged fire after a North Korean naval vessel violated the NLL, the de facto maritime border in the Yellow Sea.
Heightening tensions further, the communist country on Friday fired anti-aircraft machine guns at balloons containing leaflets criticizing the authoritarian regime.
After some of the shots landed south of border, the two sides traded machine gun fire.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Pyongyang demanded the South “ban its ships from entering the areas it claims as the inter-Korean sea border, stop civic groups from sending propaganda leaflets and refrain from slander including in the press,” Kim said.
Drawn by the U.S.-led United Nations Command at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, the NLL acts as the de facto sea border between the two Koreas. It is not recognized by Pyongyang.
In response, South Korea called on the North to abide by the NLL, stressing that it is “not possible for the democratic government to control civic groups or media,” according to the ministry.
“Despite being very serious throughout the talks with a will to improve the bilateral ties, the two sides failed to narrow the differences, which caused the meeting to end without specific agreements,” Kim said.
The talks between generals on both sides were reportedly held at the border truce village of Panmunjom.
The South’s Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report, AFP said.
The last time such discussions were held in December 2007.