North Korea proposes parliamentary talks with South

North Korea and South Korea are expected to have a contact on February 11.

Seoul: North Korea on Friday proposed holding parliamentary talks with South Korea in its latest diplomatic overture toward Seoul after months of animosity.

South Korea quickly dismissed the idea, saying that the two sides were already discussing a preliminary meeting for high-level defence talks.

The Koreas have been in a standoff following the North`s November shelling of a South Korean island and its alleged attack on a South Korean warship in March.

The North`s Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea proposed that lawmakers from the rivals talk to overcome the "grave situation" on the divided peninsula. It did not elaborate on the plan.

"Dialogue and negotiations are the only way for averting a war," the North said in a statement carried by its official Korean Central News Agency.

The latest overture comes two days after South Korea proposed holding a preliminary meeting with North Korea on February 11 to lay the groundwork for high-level defence talks.

South Korea`s Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung dismissed the North`s proposal for parliamentary talks as "a routine offensive that lacks sincerity”.

South Korea has recently pressed North Korea to accept separate talks with Seoul to verify its commitment to abandoning its nuclear programs. The North has yet to respond to Seoul`s demand.

Bureau Report