South Korea's defense minister said Thursday his military is willing to hold low-level military talks with North Korea if the North proposes such a meeting. "If North Korea proposes a dialogue again, (the South's military) will accept the proposal," Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said in a televised debate. Colonel-level officers from the two Koreas met in February, intending to arrange a high-level military meeting to ease high tensions, but the talks collapsed as the North's representatives refused to apologize for Pyongyang's two deadly attacks last year. The February meeting was the first cross-border military dialogue since the North's deadly bombardment of a South Korean island last November, which inflamed tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Two marines and two civilians were killed in the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, which came eight months after the North torpedoed a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors. At the debate, Kim reiterated that South Korea will swiftly and strongly respond with force if the communist state launches another attack, accusing the North of plotting a new provocation. "If North Korea launches another military attack, our military will swiftly and strongly punish the enemy's forces until they surrender," Kim said.