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UN, North Korea meet again to discuss sinking of South Korean ship

By the CNN Wire Staff
U.S. troops get a look at the wreck of the South Korean warship Cheonan on Thursday.
U.S. troops get a look at the wreck of the South Korean warship Cheonan on Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The two sides will meet again next Thursday
  • The talks are designed to set the stage for higher-level discussions
  • U.N. Command: The 2nd round of talks last 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • North Korea has been blamed for the sinking of the warship Cheonan, but denies it
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(CNN) -- The second round of talks between North Korea and the U.S.-led U.N. Command on the peninsula ended Friday.

The talks were designed to set the stage for higher-level discussions on the sinking of a South Korean warship, for which North Korea has been blamed.

The two sides met for about an hour and 45 minutes, a spokesman with the U.N. Command told CNN.

They agreed to hold another colonel-level meeting next Thursday.

Friday's was the second meeting between the two parties since the March attack on the Cheonan, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

An international investigation blamed North Korea for the sinking, an assertion the North has denied.

Officers from both sides met in Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The demilitarized zone was created as part of the armistice signed between the two Koreas in 1953 that halted fighting in the Korean War, but the war has never officially ended.

The United Nations and North Korea began occasional meetings between generals -- "general officer talks" -- at Panmunjom in 1998 in an effort to lessen tensions.

South Korea has said that an investigation concluded that a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo that sunk the South Korea warship.

Earlier this month, the United Nations formally condemned the sinking of the Cheonan, but did not specifically name North Korea.

"The Security Council deplores the attack," the 15-member council said in what is known as a presidential statement.

It urged that "appropriate and peaceful measures be taken against those responsible for the incident aimed at the peaceful settlement of the issue."

It also called for full adherence to the 1953 armistice agreement.

At the Friday meeting, the U.N. Command proposed a joint group to assess any armistice violations in the warship's sinking.

The two sides adjourned after they agreed to develop specific proposals, the Command said.