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South Korea Mulls Separate Nuclear, Military Talks With North


South Korean officials say they are considering a 2-track approach to negotiations with North Korea, with talks on the North's nuclear program to take place separately from military talks agreed to last week.

Defense Ministry officials said Monday they will likely make a proposal this week for working-level military talks to begin in mid-February. Those talks would prepare the way for higher-level negotiations on "pending military issues."

A Unification Ministry spokeswoman said the government is also interested in convening separate talks between senior officials from the two countries on North Korea's nuclear programs. She said a proposal will be announced once internal discussions are concluded.

South Korea accepted North Korea's proposal for military talks last week after demanding assurances that the negotiations would deal with two attacks on South Korean forces that killed 50 people last year.

South Korea still says it wants to see how serious the North is about negotiations before it agrees to meet at the ministerial level. Successful talks could clear the way for a resumption of 6-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear programs.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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