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Two Koreas end preliminary military talks without progress

SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — South Korea and the Democratic People ‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) ended preliminary military talks without breakthrough on Wednesday, as the two estranged neighbors failed to agree on agenda for the proposed high-level talks, the defense ministry said.

The second day of the colonel-level military talks, the first major inter-Korean contact following artillery exchange in November last year, bogged down as both sides did not even reach an agreement on when the next round of the talks should be held, according to officials.

At the unfruitful talks, Seoul stuck to the position that the high-level talks must discuss the DPRK’s alleged sinking of a South Korean warship last March and shelling of an inhabited South Korean island near the disputed sea border off the west coast of the Korean peninsula, which altogether killed 48 soldiers and two civilians.

Pyongyang, on the other hand, insisted the two rivals discuss " halting military acts" that can be considered as provocations and claimed Seoul’s insistence on bringing up the two incidents amounts to rejecting the high-level military talks, according to the defense ministry.

Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the fatal sinking and claimed its artillery attack on the island was for self-defense in the wake of provocative South Korean and U.S. drills near the border.

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