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North and South Korea to hold military talks Monday

Sunday, October 26, 2008

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea has accepted a North Korean proposal to hold military talks, a Defense Ministry official said Saturday, amid continuing tensions on the divided peninsula.

Ties between the two countries, which are still technically at war, have soured since South Korea's pro-U.S. president, Lee Myung-bak, took office in February with a pledge to get tough with North Korea.

In protest, North Korea suspended reconciliation talks and threatened to cut any remaining relations if Seoul continues a policy of "reckless confrontation."

But South Korea, which denied this past week it had taken a hard-line stance toward the North, agreed to a meeting Monday inside the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, the South Korean official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The move came a day after North Korea proposed the talks involving lieutenant colonel-grade officers to discuss military communication lines between the two Koreas.

Earlier this month, the two sides failed to make any progress in colonel-level talks -- their first official contact since Lee took office.

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