North Korean army officers will meet the US-led UN Command for a fourth time in a month on Tuesday, as tensions simmer on the peninsula over the sinking of a warship, military drills and the capture of a fishing boat.
The United Nations Command said North Korean military officials had agreed to a colonel-level meeting at the Panmunjom truce village that straddles the border between the two Koreas.
It said the meetings were being held to discuss the date, agenda and protocols for general-level talks on armistice issues related to the sinking of the Cheonan corvette in March, in which 46 sailors were killed.
South Korea, backed by the United States, blames the North for torpedoing the ship. North Korea denies any involvement.
In recent weeks, North Korea and its only powerful ally China have criticised a series of military drills by the United States and South Korea off the divided peninsula.
The South was due to complete an independent exercise on Monday, and will conduct more joint exercise with the United States next week.
Beijing says the joint drills threaten both to its security and regional stability. It has also made public its own recent military drills, events normally kept secret.