( AP ) - South Korea - North Korea rapped South Korea at high-level military talks Wednesday for refusing to compromise on their disputed sea border, claiming Seoul's position could lead to bloody skirmishes.
The North's denunciation, although expected, signals this week's general-level talks aimed at discussing a joint fishing zone and other reconciliation projects could stumble over the sea border dispute - a perennial deal-breaker in military talks.
"The South's claim ... is a dangerous way of thinking intended to repeat the history that brought about bloody gunbattles," the North's Korean Central News Agency quoted Kim Yong Chol, the North's chief delegate, as saying during the first day of talks at the border village of Panmunjom.
North Korea does not recognize the boundary off the peninsula's west coast, known formally as the Northern Limit Line, as it was drawn at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Pyongyang has long demanded the line be redrawn further south, which Seoul has consistently rejected. The disagreement prompted two deadly skirmishes in 1999 and 2002 in rich fishing waters around the border.
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il agreed at their October summit to create a joint fishing ground as a way to resolve the dispute. But the sides disagree over where the zone should be located.
The South wants both sides to provide the same area around the boundary, but the North wants the zone set up only south of the border. The issue was also a key sticking point at talks between the two Koreas' defense ministers last month.
The negotiators also were discussing measures to improve conditions at a joint venture industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong by allowing Internet access and mobile phones, along with simplifying border crossing procedures.
Col. Moon Sung-mook, spokesman for the South's delegation, reported progress on the matter on the first day, saying only minor differences remain on the issue.
The military negotiations set to run through Friday were the latest in a series of talks the two sides have held after the October meeting between the leaders of the North and South.
On Tuesday, the Koreas inaugurated cargo rail service across their heavily armed border - the first time regular trains have run between the countries since the Korean War.