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2 Koreas hold military talks amid tension

Working-level military officers from North Korea and South Korea met Monday to discuss improving their lines of communication amid strained ties between the divided nations, officials said.

world Updated: Oct 27, 2008 09:00 IST

Working-level military officers from North Korea and South Korea met Monday to discuss improving their lines of communication amid strained ties between the divided nations, officials said.

It would be the second official talks between the rival Koreas since a pro-U.S., conservative government was inaugurated in Seoul in February with a pledge to get tougher on the North. The first meeting also was held between the countries' military officers in early October but ended without much progress. The North used the meeting to criticize South Korean civic activists for sending propaganda leaflets critical of its communist regime across the Korean border, threatening to expel South Koreans working at joint projects in the North in retaliation.

On Monday, the sides met in a location inside the demilitarized zone bisecting the Korean peninsula, said Won Tae-jae, a spokesman at the South Korean Defense Ministry, during a media briefing. He did not provide details, saying he would brief the results of the meeting later in the day.

Earlier Monday, ministry officials said the sides planned to discuss how to overhaul and upgrade military communication lines between the countries.

The two Koreas have operated nine military hot lines but some of them are now out of service for technical reasons, according to the Defense Ministry.

The North suspend reconciliation talks with the South following the inauguration of the government of President Lee Myung-bak, who sought to link aid to the North to progress in the North Korean nuclear issue. Earlier this month, the North warned it would cut any remaining relations unless South Korea abandons what it calls a policy of "reckless confrontation."

The two Koreas are still technically at war because their 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.