North Korea said Sunday it has rejected a proposal by the American-led UN Command to hold military talks on the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang.
The UN Command, which oversees the armistice that ended the three-year Korean War in 1953, has launched an investigation of the sinking.
A separate team of international investigators concluded last month that North Korea torpedoed the warship Cheonan near the tense Korean sea border. North Korea denied the allegation and has warned any punishment would trigger war.
Details of the UN Command’s probe have not been released.
North Korea said Sunday that the UN Command’s armistice commission has sent it a message calling for general-level talks to inform the North of the results of its investigation.
“The US imperialists” used the armistice commission to send a “ridiculous notice proposing general-level talks in order to brief it on its results,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.
It said the results of the UN Command’s probe “will only represent” the outcome of the South Korean-led international investigation, which it said was “full of fabrication and plots.”
David Oten, a spokesman for the US military command in Seoul, said he had no information about the North Korean report.
The dispatch said North Korea is willing to hold high-level military talks with South Korea only if Seoul allows North Korean inspectors to verify the investigation results.
An official at Seoul’s Defense Ministry said it has no intention to accept North Korean inspectors. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing department policy, said he has no information about the UN Command’s reported proposal to hold general-level talks.
The two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1953 truce has not been replaced by a peace treaty. US Gen. Walter L. Sharp, chief of the 28,500 troops in South Korea, heads the UN Command.
Backed by the US and other countries, South Korea has taken its own punitive measures against North Korea, including trade restrictions. The North reacted angrily, declaring it was cutting off ties with Seoul and threatening to attack.
South Korea has taken the issue to the UN Security Council to seek punishment for North Korea.