South Korea proposes preliminary meeting with North Korea

South Korea on Wednesday proposed holding a preliminary meeting with North Korea in two weeks' time to lay the groundwork for high-level defense discussions, in what would be the rivals' first official contact since the North's deadly shelling of a South Korean island late last year.
The proposal came as a senior US diplomat visited Seoul to talk about ways to deal with North Korea, which has made a recent push for talks to ease hostility on the peninsula after weeks of threatening war. The South, which responded to the North's Nov. 23 artillery attack with military drills and threats of its own, has agreed to talks but remains wary of North Korean intentions.