9 Feb 2011

Talks between Koreas collapse

9:26 pm on 9 February 2011

Military talks aimed at easing high tensions between North and South Korea have collapsed with the North's delegation walking out, Seoul's defence ministry says.

It was the first cross-border dialogue since the North's deadly shelling of the South Korean island on 23 November last year, which briefly sparked fears of war.

The working-level talks at the border village of Panmunjom had been intended to set the date and agenda for higher-level military dialogue.

But a ministry spokesperson told AFP the North's negotiators crossed the borderline 10 minutes after walking out of the meeting on Wednesday.

The North proposed that the agenda focus on the stoppage of all military actions that can be considered as provocative acts by the other side.

The two sides even failed to discuss when they might meet again.

The South has been demanding an apology for two border incidents last year which killed 50 South Koreans.

Four people, including two civilians, died in the shelling of Yeonpyeong island near the disputed Yellow Sea border.

The South also accuses the North of torpedoing a warship in March last year with the loss of 46 lives - a charge it denies.