U.N. Command, DPRK postpone military talks
The third round of colonel-level talks between the U.S.-led U.N. Command (UNC) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been postponed, the UNC said, Xinhua reported.
The meeting, intended to discuss the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship in March, was tentatively due to take place on Thursday in the truce village of Panmunjom. But the two sides had failed to confirm the date.
Further contacts between the two sides are underway to discuss a new date for the meeting, a UNC official told Xinhua.
The DPRK has been blamed as the culprit for the sinking of the warship Cheonan, which took lives of 46 sailors, after a multinational investigation concluded that the ship sank due to a torpedo attack from the DPRK. But it denies its involvement.
At the last meeting, held on July 23, the UNC proposed a joint group to assess any armistice violations in the warship's sinking, and the two sides exchanged ideas and further details for convening the joint group, according to a UNC press release.
The DPRK, meanwhile, urged the United States to unconditionally receive the inspection group dispatched by Pyongyang, saying "it was necessary to investigate the truth of the incident objectively and scientifically," DPRK's state-run KCNA said.
The first round of such meeting after the Cheonan incident came on July 15, during which the two sides agreed to convene general- grade talks over the warship sinking.
The U.S.-led UNC, which said it is charged with the enforcement and maintenance of the Armistice Agreement, has convened 16 rounds of talks with the DPRK since the General Officer Talks forum between the two sides launched in 1998. However, the DPRK always insists that the "UNC" was unjust, and the so-called "United Nations troops" is just U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.
The DPRK said it will send inspectors to South Korea to verify Seoul's claim after the probe results came out, but Seoul rejected Pyongyang's demand.