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Monday, October 02, 2006

Two Koreas to hold military talks on Monday - Seoul

SEOUL (Reuters): Military officials from North and South Korea are to meet on Monday at Pyongyang's suggestion, the first bilateral military talks since the North test-fired seven missiles in July, Seoul's Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

"There will be working-level military talks early on Monday," a ministry spokesman said by telephone. "North Korea has proposed the meeting."

Topics for discussion were not known. South Korea's Yonhap News reported that North Korea had proposed discussing "military agreements that have already been reached".

Dialogue between the two Koreas, still technically at war half a century after their 1950-53 conflict halted with an inconclusive truce, has recently stalled due to a sudden rise in tension over Pyongyang's multiple missile launches on July 5.

South Korea postponed military talks after the launches, although it went ahead with a scheduled ministerial meeting with its Communist neighbour later in July.

Seoul says its ties with the North were strained by the missile launches but has urged diplomacy to resolve the crisis.

Separate six-party talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States on the North's nuclear weapons programmes have been deadlocked since last November.
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