N. Korea rejects South's offers to hold talks
SEOUL • South Korea voiced regret yesterday at North Korea's rejection of its offers for talks at various levels as both countries prepare to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.
Last week, Seoul's parliamentary speaker Chung Ui Hwa had used the Aug 15 anniversary as a peg to offer talks with his North Korean counterpart, Mr Kim Yong Nam.
On the same day, the South's Defence Ministry asked Pyongyang to attend the Seoul Defence Dialogue in September.
But Pyongyang rejected both proposals over the weekend, describing them as "shameless" attempts to conceal Seoul's hostile policy.
"We find it very regrettable that the North rejected the offers ... and disparaged our efforts to have dialogue," said Seoul's Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon Hee.
10 Afghan soldiers die in US air strike
PUL-E ALAM (Afghanistan)•A US air strike killed up to 10 Afghan soldiers yesterday at an army checkpoint in a Taleban-infested province south of Kabul, one of the deadliest episodes of "friendly fire" from foreign forces in recent years.
The early-morning raid in Baraki Barak district of Logar province came as coalition forces increase air strikes on potential militant targets despite a drawdown of Nato forces after 13 years of war.
The bombing marked the second such incident in the area since last December, when a Nato air strike killed five civilians and wounded six.
An American military official said that the incident is under investigation.
US-led Nato forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in December, but a residual force remains in the country for training purposes and counter-terrorism operations.