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North Korea to resume talks with UN Command on sinking

Wednesday September 15 2010

By AFP

SEOUL, Wednesday

North Korea's military will hold a new round of talks this week with the US-led United Nations Command about the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Command said Wednesday.

The colonel-level meeting will be held Thursday at the border truce village of Panmunjom, it said in a statement.

South Korea and the United States, citing the findings of a multinational investigation, accuse the North of torpedoing the warship in March with the loss of 46 lives. The North denies involvement.

At previous meetings, the North demanded the right to send a high-level team to the South to inspect evidence dredged from the seabed, including what Seoul and other investigators say is part of a North Korean torpedo.

The South has rejected the demand, saying the UN Command should handle the case as a serious breach of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 war.

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On Monday Seoul's defence ministry published the full report by the investigators, saying it was acting to quell "groundless" suspicions about who was to blame for the incident.

The Panmunjom talks are intended to prepare for discussions between generals from the two sides. The general-level talks have been used as a way of easing cross-border tensions since they were first held in 1998.

The UN Command is headed by the general in charge of the 28,500 US troops stationed in the South to deter the North.