Clear-the-air military talks between North and South Korea have ended but with little progress.
This was the first meeting between the countries’ top brass for two years and was designed to smooth over recent tensions.
South Korea went into the negotiations hoping that its neighbour would take responsibility for the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, something it has so far refused to do.
As for the North, it wanted to discuss disputed maritime borders and the issue of propaganda leafleting by South Korean activists.
Local media are reporting that no breakthrough was reached by the two parties, although they have agreed to meet again.
Pyongyang’s military is itself preparing for a change at the top. Leader Kim Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-un, was last week elevated to his first official position in the ruling Working Party’s powerful Central Military Commission. Many observers see him as the successor to his father who reportedly has health problems.