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U.N., North Korea hold talks over sinking

By the CNN Wire Staff
A North Korean soldier looks at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on Wednesday.
A North Korean soldier looks at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on Wednesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Talks between U.N. and North Korea last about 90 minutes
  • Meeting is the first since the sinking of a South Korean warship in March
  • The colonel-level meeting took place in the demilitarized zone

(CNN) -- The U.S.-led United Nations Command and North Korea held rare military talks Thursday -- the first since the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Yonhap news agency reported.

An official at the U.N. Command said the meeting lasted about 90 minutes, but had no additional information about the talks, according to Yonhap.

The much-anticipated meeting between military officers representing the United Nations and North Korea took place in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The purpose of the meeting was to "set the agenda and the protocols for general officer talks" in regards to the March 26 sinking of the South Korean warship, the Cheonan, U.N. Command spokesman David Oten told CNN earlier this week.

The United Nations formally condemned the sinking of the ship but did not specifically name North Korea -- which a multinational probe found culpable in the incident.

The isolated North has maintained its innocence, rejecting the investigation findings outright, questioning the validity of the experts involved, asking to conduct its own inquiry, and telling the Security Council that North Korea is the true victim of a conspiracy.

Video: U.N. condemns ship sinking
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At Thursday's meeting, the U.N. officers were slated to be U.S. colonels, as the United States holds responsibility for U.N. security forces in Korea.

The result of the meeting could be the announcement of general-level talks or more colonel-level meetings, Oten said .

North Korea accepted a U.N. proposal for the meeting of colonel-level leaders to be a precursor to talks between generals on the contentious naval incident.

The demilitarized zone was created as part of the armistice signed between North Korea and South Korea in 1953 that halted fighting.