8 Feb 2011

Koreas meet for first time since fatal shelling

8:50 pm on 8 February 2011

Military officials from North and South Korea are holding their first talks since the North shelled a South Korean island in November, leaving four dead.

South Korea says the talks at the border village of Panmunjom are intended to lay the groundwork for higher-level meetings.

The BBC reports relations have been extremely tense since 46 South Koreans died when their warship was sunk in March last year. Seoul blamed the North for the incident, which Pyongyang denies.

The talks, being held between colonels, could pave the way for a meeting of the two countries' defence ministers, the BBC reports.

At the weekend South Korea intercepted a North Korean fishing boat a few kilometres south of the disputed sea border and close to Yeonpyeong island, which was shelled by the North last November.

The 31 people on board are being questioned by South Korean officials.

An official said that the North Koreans were workers and not family members and no children were on board.