Koreas start military talks on easing tension

South and North Korea Tuesday started high-level military talks to try to ease tensions along the world's last Cold War border.

Koreas start military talks on easing tension
South and North Korea Tuesday started high-level military talks to try to ease tensions along the world's last Cold War border.

The three-day talks at the frontier village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarised Zone come amid a general improvement in relations, after the North shut down nuclear facilities, which had produced bomb-making plutonium.

South Korean officials say the meeting will focus on avoiding clashes around the disputed border in the Yellow Sea, creating a joint fishing area there and guaranteeing safe conditions for economic cooperation projects on land.

The North is demanding that its cargo ships be allowed to take a short cut home across the sea border and wants joint development around the mouths of cross-border rivers.

Both sides previously failed to narrow differences, with the North sticking to its earlier demand that a new sea border be drawn. It refuses to recognise the Northern Limit Line (NLL) drawn up by United Nations forces at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War.

North Korea has proposed creating a joint fishing zone in rich crab-fishing grounds south of the NLL, while South Korea wants the zone to be established along the line.

Six South Koreans were killed in a clash in June 2002 in the area, while in June 1999 a similar skirmish killed dozens of North Korean sailors.

The North says South Korean warships continue to fuel tension by violating its territorial waters, accusations rejected by Seoul as groundless.

A previous round of general-level talks ended fruitlessly in May due to the sea border dispute.

The South's five-member delegation is led by army Major General Jung Seung-Jo. His North Korean counterpart is two-star General Kim Yong-Chol.

AFP

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Temmuz 2007, 11:56
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