North Korea proposes "candid" military talks with South Korea

North Korea wants its military to meet with that of South Korea for "honest and candid" talks aimed at reducing military tensions between the arch-rivals.

The talks could take place at the end of May or beginning of June, according to a statement from North Korea's Defence Ministry on Saturday, carried by state media.

The talks would aim "to defuse the military tension on the Korean peninsula and create [a] confidence-building atmosphere between the military authorities of the north and the south," the statement read.

The regime in Pyongyang, isolated by the international community over its nuclear weapons programme, has recently made several appeals to Seoul for military talks.

"We think that it is necessary for the military authorities of the north and the south to discuss in an honest and candid manner the outstanding issues related to any possible military conflict," the statement added.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made the most recent call some two weeks ago at a congress of the ruling Workers' Party.

Seoul has accused the communist north of not being serious about talks so long as it continues with its controversial plans to build nuclear weapons.

Steps towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula should have the utmost priority if there was to be dialogue, the South Korean Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

Tensions between the two sides have increased following an atomic bomb test by the north in January and a hotly disputed missile launch.

The UN Security Council increased sanctions against Pyongyang at the beginning of March.

Last update: Sat, 21/05/2016 - 18:22

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