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N. Korea asks South to restart military talks

By the CNN Wire Staff
A North Korean soldier takes picture of the southern side of the cross-border village of Panmunjeom on July 27, 2010.
A North Korean soldier takes picture of the southern side of the cross-border village of Panmunjeom on July 27, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • South Korea reacts skeptically, says the proposed agenda is too complex
  • The North's request could signal further easing of cross-border tensions
  • Pyongyang asked to discuss the two countries' de facto sea border on the west coast
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(CNN) -- North Korea on Thursday proposed working-level military talks with South Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported.

The North's request could signal further easing of cross-border tensions, but South Korea reacted skeptically to the complex proposed agenda, Yonhap said, citing defense officials from the South.

Pyongyang asked to discuss the two countries' de facto sea border on the west coast. North Korea wants the border, known as the Northern Limit Line, redrawn farther south. Deadly naval clashes between North and South took place along the Northern Limit Line in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

North Korea also wants to discuss a South Korean plan to fly anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North, in response to the sinking of a South Korean warship in March. South Korea has since deferred the leaflet plan, Yonhap said.

Why are the two Koreas so hostile?

The North proposed the military talks on Wednesday by fax, using a military communications line, Yonhap said. The last such military talks were held in 2008.

On Friday, North Korea proposed resuming the cross-border reunions of families separated by the Korean War.

The two Koreas are technically still at war, because the 1950-53 Korean War ended without a peace treaty. North-South relations remain tense.

The bilateral relationship has worsened with the sinking of the South Korean warship in March. Seoul has blamed the North for the sinking.

A South Korean report, whose findings have been endorsed by the United States, says a North Korean submarine sank the Cheonan warship with a torpedo, killing 46 sailors. North Korea denies sinking the ship and has called the South's report a provocation.