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South Korea says two Koreas to hold military talks

September 28, 2010

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North and South Korea have agreed to hold their first working-level military talks in two years, Seoul's Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

Officers from the two sides were to meet Thursday in the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, the ministry said. They last held such talks in October 2008.

North Korea had earlier this month proposed the meeting to discuss the western maritime border and anti-North Korean leaflets spread by South Koreans. The ministry would not confirm Wednesday what would be on the upcoming meeting's agenda.

The poorly marked western sea border, drawn by the United Nations at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, is a constant source of tension between the two Koreas.

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Seoul has repeatedly rejected the North's long-standing demands that the sea border be changed. The navies of the two Koreas engaged in three bloody skirmishes near the area in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

Military tensions have been high since a South Korean patrol ship sank in March, killing 46 sailors. South Korea and the United States say the vessel was sunk by a North Korean torpedo, a claim Pyongyang denies.

The talks also come as South Korea and the U.S. are holding naval drills in the Yellow Sea off the west coast of the Korean peninsula, near where the South Korean ship sank.

The exercises are the second in a series of joint maneuvers focusing on anti-submarine warfare tactics, techniques, and procedures, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.

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