North and South Korea hold talks

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Military generals from North and South Korea have met at a border village for talks on how to ease animosities between the rival countries after two clashes last week, South Korean media said.

The two Koreas traded gunfire on Friday after South Korean activists floated balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border.

Earlier last week, the two navies exchanged warning shots along the countries’ disputed sea boundary. There were no reports of casualties from either incident, which served as a reminder of tensions running high on the divided Korean peninsula.

After the gunfire exchange, South Korea said it would sternly deal with any further provocations by North Korea, but stressed that the door for dialogue remained open. The North urged Seoul to stop hostile acts such as dropping leaflets if it wants improved ties.

Hopes for better relations were given impetus after a group of high-level North Korean officials made a rare visit to South Korea earlier this month and agreed to resume senior-level talks. South Korea has said the talks would be among government officials, not military officers.

Today’s meeting of generals at the border village of Panmunjom was expected to focus on how to ease tensions along the sea boundary, the scene of several bloody naval skirmishes in recent years, as well as to discuss the dropping of propaganda leaflets, Yonhap news agency and the YTN television network said.

North Korea has long demanded the South prohibit activists from dropping leaflets, but Seoul has refused, citing freedom of speech.

Seoul’s Defence Ministry and Unification Ministry said they could not confirm the talks. The meeting, if confirmed, would represent the first military talks between the two Koreas since early 2011, according to South Korean defence officials.

Yonhap said Pyongyang had requested South Korea not to publicise the meeting.

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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