MOSCOW (Sputnik) — South Korea's Defense Ministry has rejected military talks proposed by North Korea, stressing the importance of dealing with the issue of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, the ministry said Monday.
"We expressed regret that North Korea had proposed to hold military talks without any mentions over its nuclear problem…We will firmly keep the stance that the North's denuclearization step should be a top priority when it comes to dialogue with Pyongyang," ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
The statement comes after a North Korean proposal, made on Saturday, on holding a working-level meeting by early June in preparation for military talks, according to the news outlet.rejected the proposal, demanding real steps toward denuclearization from Pyongyang.
Seoul and Pyongyang have been de jure at war following the signing of an armistice at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War. Relations between the two nations fluctuate sporadically, in particular, after 2005, when North Korea declared itself a nuclear power, and conducted several nuclear weapon tests.
North-South relations deteriorated significantly in January when Pyongyang successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test.