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Posted : 2010-07-13 19:03
Updated : 2010-07-13 19:03

N. Korea delays talks with UN command on ship sinking

By Jung Sung-ki
Staff reporter

North Korea has delayed military talks with the U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC) originally scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the sinking of a South Korean warship in the West Sea in March.

The talks had been scheduled for 10 a.m. at the truce village of Panmunjeom, but the North’s military “requested a delay in the planned colonel-level meetings with the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission representatives at Panmunjeom for administrative reasons," the UNC said in a statement.

North Korea's military has proposed 10 a.m. Thursday at Panmunjom as the new date for the meeting, South Korean military authorities said.

Why the reclusive state postponed the talks has yet to be clarified, a UNC official said.

Tuesday’s meeting would have come four days after the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) condemned the sinking of the Cheonan in a presidential statement. The UNSC, however, stopped short of blaming North Korea directly for the sinking of the 1,200-ton frigate.

A South Korea-led multinational investigation concluded in May that North Korea was responsible for the sinking, which left 46 sailors dead.

Pyongyang has denied this and threatened that any punishment would lead to war.

North Korea originally rejected a UNC proposal to hold such military talks, but changed its stance on Friday, just before the UNSC’s adoption of the statement on the sinking.

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