Accessibility links

South Korea Denies Dialogue Underway With North

South Korea's government denies reports of recent contacts with the North Korean government about holding a summit meeting.

Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo says South Korea has not held talks with Pyongyang about a meeting of the two governments' leaders.

Lee says, at the government level, no conversations have been occurring with the North. And she terms the latest media report "groundless."

Lee adds she is not aware whether the matter was discussed between the South and the North last year.

The South Korean Dong-a Ilbo newspaper Wednesday quoted unnamed government officials as saying there had been recent official contacts between Seoul and Pyongyang.

The report says North Korea inquired whether an offer for a summit that the South allegedly made last year still stands. Seoul reportedly last year offered badly needed aid to Pyongyang if it agreed to a summit.

The newspaper reports Seoul replied that circumstances have changed since the offer was made. That is a reference to the sinking in late March of a South Korean navy ship in the Yellow Sea. An international investigation concluded that a North Korean torpedo sank the Cheonan.

South Korean media previously reported that secret meetings were held in 2009 concerning a possible summit. The last time North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, met with a South Korean president was in 2007.

The two Koreas have no diplomatic relations and technically remain in a state of war since a 1953 armistice ended fighting in the Korean War.