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North Korea Blames South for Failure to Hold Talks

North and South Korea are blaming the other for their failure to hold scheduled talks this week.

North Korean media quoted a spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland as saying the South acted rashly for objecting to the rank of the top delegate Pyongyang intended to dispatch to the high-level talks.

The state radio announcer quotes the spokesman's statement accusing Seoul of having “had no intent to hold dialogue from the beginning,“ which it says has now been “aborted.”

The North Korean statement says Pyongyang has nothing to expect from such talks. That is seen as a signal from the North that it is unlikely to ask again for talks in the near future.

Cho Young-key, a professor of North Korean studies at Korea University in Seoul, is pessimistic there will be any substantial dialogue between North and South in the near future.

Cho terms Pyongyang's actions as “abnormal, illogical and unsteady.” He questions whether North Korea actually wants to engage in talks.

South Korea's Unification Ministry says it is highly regrettable that the North unilaterally disclosed the contents of their working level preparatory talks and “distorted the facts.”

In a statement Thursday, the ministry also urged Pyongyang to engage in high-level, direct dialogue to resolve outstanding inter-Korean issues.

Last Thursday, Pyongyang made a surprise request for official talks.

There has been no high-level dialogue between the two Koreas for six years. The two countries have no diplomatic ties and have technically remained at war since a devastating three-year conflict in the early 1950's ended in stalemate. The Korean War drew in Chinese forces supporting the North, while a U.S.-led United Nations coalition countered the North's invasion of the South.

American forces have been stationed in the South ever since.

In recent months, the North's sole significant remaining ally, China, has expressed open frustration with North Korea's increasing threats to launch attacks against the South and the United States.

Military experts give little credence to Pyongyang's recent pronouncements to destroy Seoul and launch nuclear weapons at the U.S. mainland. But many analysts say the North's vow, in defiance of international sanctions, to develop miniaturized nuclear weapons that can be placed atop ballistic missiles should be taken seriously.

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