South and North Korean officials met for nearly three hours Thursday but failed to make any progress toward setting up a meeting between their prime ministers because of bitter differences over a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise.
They agreed, however, to get together again on April 12 at the truce village of Panmunjom, 35 miles north of Seoul, for more discussions.The Thursday session, the second of its kind, started at 10 a.m. at Unification House in the northern sector of the truce site. Five delegates from each side attended.
As soon as the meeting got under way, chief northern delegate Paek Nam-jun took issue with the U.S.-South Korean Team Spirit military exercises. The exercises have been held annually since 1976.
Paek said the Team Spirit exercises should be main topic of discussion at the current talks, which were initially charged with organizing talks between the prime ministers of the two Koreas.
Paek demanded that the Team Spirit exercises be stopped.