N Korea holds talks with UN Command on sunken ship

The two sides held second round of talks about the sinking of South warship.

Updated: Jul 23, 2010, 13:44 PM IST

Seoul: North Korea`s military held a second round of talks on Friday with the US-led United Nations Command about the sinking of a South Korean warship, a Command spokesman said.

The meeting at the border truce village of Panmunjom began days after Washington announced plans for new sanctions against Pyongyang and for a major military exercise.

South Korea and the United States, citing the findings of a multinational investigation, accuse the North of torpedoing the warship in March near the disputed inter-Korean border with the loss of 46 lives.

The North denies involvement.

The colonel-level talks were first held last week.

The UN Command, which enforces the armistice that ended the 1950-53 war, said they resumed at 10 am (0100 GMT) on Friday.

At the previous meeting, the North demanded the right to send a high-level team to the South to inspect evidence dredged from the seabed, including what Seoul and other investigators say is part of a North Korean torpedo.

The South has rejected the demand, saying the UN Command should handle the case as a serious breach of the armistice.

The talks are intended to prepare for discussions between generals from the two sides.

But the North last week said US forces should press Seoul to accept its investigation team before any higher-level talks are held.

The general-level talks have been used as a way of easing cross-border tensions since they were first held in 1998.

The UN Command is headed by the commander of the 28,500 US troops stationed in the South to deter the North.

Bureau Report