Koreas hold defense meeting to ease tensions

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 8, 2011 04:24

 
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SEOUL, South Korea— Military officers from North and South Korea met Tuesday to try to lay the groundwork for high-level defense talks aimed at easing hostilities on the Korean peninsula.

The meeting marked the first official dialogue between the two Koreas since the North's artillery barrage on a front-line South Korean island in November that killed four people. That attack and March's sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang in which 46 sailors were killed plunged inter-Korean ties to one of their lowest levels in decades.

Three colonel-level officers of the two Koreas met Tuesday at the border village of Panmunjom to set a date and work out other details for higher-level defense talks aimed at discussing the two attacks last year, according to South Korea's Defense Ministry.

"The fact the two Koreas are meeting in the aftermath of continued military tensions means that hostility on the Korean peninsula could be reduced," said Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University.

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