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North Korea Proposes Talks With South In Late January

North Korea has proposed holding preparatory talks with South Korea in late January as part of moves to resolve tensions on the divided peninsula.

The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency reports that North Korean officials have also proposed the holding in early February of high-level military talks between the two Koreas.

The announcement by the North came after the U.S. and Chinese presidents, Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, called in a statement this week for the two Koreas to renew their dialogue.

South Korea, its ally the United States, and North Korea's ally China have also called for the North to return to six-country talks on ending the North's nuclear programs.

Tensions between the Koreas have soared in the past year over incidents including a North Korean artillery attack on a South Korean island in November that killed four people, and the sinking of a South Korean warship in March that killed 46 sailors. The North denies attacking the navy ship.

compiled from agency reports