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Pyongyang Diplomat: No Meeting with Seoul Counterpart

  • Baik Sungwon

Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and State Department special envoy Robert King, center, listen as North Korean human rights activist Shin Dong-hyuk delivers remarks during an event on human rights in North Korea at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Tuesday,

Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and State Department special envoy Robert King, center, listen as North Korean human rights activist Shin Dong-hyuk delivers remarks during an event on human rights in North Korea at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Tuesday,

The foreign ministers for the two Koreas won’t meet up in New York, despite both being in the city for the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, North Korea’s top diplomat said.

The statement by Ri Su-yong contrasted with what Yun Byung-se, of South Korea, told reporters a day earlier, when he held open the possibility of a bilateral meeting.

In a written statement to VOA’s Korean Service Friday, Ri said the South Korean government hadn’t suggested such a meeting.

"[A]nd even if it did, I do not intend to meet Minister Yun given his behavior,” Ri said in a statement provided North Korea’s U.N. mission.

The statement said Ri was irked by South Korea’s opposition to his participation in a high-level meeting held Tuesday on human rights in North Korea.

Opposition from both Washington and Seoul kept Ri from attending. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry vetoed Ri's participation first, and Minister Yun did not oppose Kerry's move.

"Including the involved party when discussing an issue is par for the course and logical; as well as a way to guarantee transparency,” Ri said, according to the statement.

The last high-level meeting between the two Koreas, still technically at war with 61 years after an armistice, was held in February, when they reached a deal allowing hundreds of people from both sides to meet relatives for the first time since the war.

However, North Korea has continued belligerent moves since then, conducting missile tests and insulting South Korea’s president.

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