N Korea demands its own probe into ship sinking

Last Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 20:53

Seoul: North Korea`s military renewed its
call for its own investigation into the March deadly sinking
of a South Korean warship as it met on Thursday with the US-led UN
Command for the first time since the incident raised tensions
on the Korean peninsula.

An international investigation in May concluded a
North Korean submarine fired a torpedo that sank the 1,200-ton
Cheonan near the tense Korean sea border, killing 46 South
Korean sailors.
At the talks, the North`s officers stressed that
Pyongyang`s inspectors should be permitted to go to the site
of the sinking to verify those results, according to state
media. Seoul has so far rejected the North`s request.

"Field investigation by an inspection group ...
should precede under any circumstances to ensure the
successful opening of the general-level talks," the North`s
official Korean Central News Agency said in a dispatch.

Colonel-level officers gathered today at the Korean
border village of Panmunjom for about 90 minutes and discussed
the hosting of higher-level talks to discuss the sinking, the
UN Command said in a statement. The two sides agreed to hold
the second round of colonel-level meeting in Panmunjom around
July 20, KCNA said.
Today`s talks came a week after the UN Security
Council approved a statement that condemned the sinking but
stopped short of directly blaming North Korea.

South Korea and the US have called the sinking a
violation of the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War
in 1953, while Pyongyang flatly denies it was responsible and
has warned any punishment would trigger war.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 20:53

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