SEOUL — North and South Korea ended their first working-level military talks in two years yesterday with no progress as the meeting stumbled over the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said.
The rare encounter came hours after Pyongyang vowed to strengthen its nuclear deterrent in response to what it called US threats.
A team of international investigators concluded in May that a North Korean torpedo sank the Cheonan warship near the two Koreas’ disputed western sea border in March, killing 46 sailors. North Korea denies involvement.
Yesterday, South Korea pressed North Korea to immediately acknowledge and apologize for the sinking and punish those responsible, the ministry said after talks in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.
“North Korea’s responsible measures over the sinking of the Cheonan are a key to resolve the issue,’’ the ministry said.
South Korea also urged the North to halt military threats and provocations near the disputed western sea border, as well as the North’s slander of South Korean authorities, the ministry said.
North Korea’s state news agency reported that the North’s representatives called Seoul’s allegation about the sinking a “cheap farce.’’