North and South Korea to hold military talks

South Korea agreed yesterday to a North Korean offer of high-level military talks, a breakthrough in the crisis on the peninsula. Hours after Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, met to discuss the North's nuclear aspirations, Pyongyang bowed to Seoul's demands for talks about two deadly attacks last year.

Washington and Beijing say North-South dialogue is a prerequisite to a resumption of six-party talks involving the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia. Pyongyang walked out of the aid-for-disarmament talks in 2009, pronouncing them dead.