North Korea says it will not hold further military talks with South

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Thursday that it would not hold further military talks with South Korea, accusing Seoul of lacking serious intent to improve relations.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Thursday that it would not hold further military talks with South Korea, accusing Seoul of lacking serious intent to improve relations.

The announcement by the North’s military, made in a statement carried by state media, came one day after its first military talks with South Korea in months ended with no agreement.

The discussions were aimed at laying the groundwork for higher-level defence talks and were the first official dialogue between the Koreas since a North Korean artillery barrage killed four people on a front-line South Korean island in November.

The bombardment increased fears of war, coming just eight months after the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang killed 46 sailors. The North flatly denies its involvement in the sinking, and says its artillery launch was prompted after South Korea fired shells into its waters during military drills.

On Thursday, the North’s military accused the South of sticking to its “unreasonable” insistence that the high-level talks cannot be held unless the North takes “sincere, responsible measures” over the attacks. North Korea also accused the South of abruptly walking out of the meeting, after the North didn’t accept its demand.

“Our military and people don’t feel the need to meet the traitors’ group as long as they don’t want improved North-South Korean ties and deny dialogue,” said North Korea’s statement, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

A day earlier, South Korea accused the North of rupturing the talks, saying the North Korean delegates unilaterally walked out shortly after the Wednesday afternoon session began.

South Korea’s Defence Ministry said the two countries differed over what to discuss in the next round of higher-level defence talks. South Korea demanded the high-level talks focus on the two attacks, while the North insisted other broader military issues also be included, a South Korean Defence Ministry statement said.

The two Koreas officially remain at war because their 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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