North’s offer of military talks nixed

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North’s offer of military talks nixed


South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense announced yesterday it turned down North Korea’s Oct. 19 offer to hold military working talks.

“We sent a notice on Thursday that it would be meaningless to hold military working talks in this situation where North Korea has still not changed its position and attitude [on the Cheonan incident],” said the Defense Ministry in a statement. South Korea has demanded an apology for the sinking of its warship Cheonan in March, which it believes North Korea torpedoed. Pyongyang has denied the accusation.

On Oct. 19, North Korea requested general level military talks be held on Oct. 22 to discuss “military issues.” However, the defense ministry demanded measures be taken by North Korea on the Cheonan sinking and a specific agenda for the talks.

“North Korea did not provide any specific topics to be discussed and actually went on to demand that we take responsibility for the Cheonan incident,” said the Defense Ministry.

“We used to accept their requests and attend talks without knowing the agenda beforehand, but we feel that this is a bad custom that should be changed and decided to turn down the recent request,” said Mun Sang-kyun, a head of North Korean policies at the ministry. Meanwhile, North Korea’s official news agency responded yesterday, saying, “South Korea will fully realize the results of their refusing our proposal.”

By Jeong Yong-soo, Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr
]

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