Pyongyang dismisses Seoul’s offer of talks

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Seoul, July 20 (IANS) North Korea on Thursday said that it was “nonsense” for South Korea to hope to improve inter-Korean ties while taking a confrontational policy against Pyongyang without giving up its dependence on the US.

The remarks came three days after Seoul proposed inter-Korean military talks on July 14 to ease tensions along the border and Red Cross talks on August 1 to resume reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s state-run daily, called on South Korea to make a decision over whether to stick to its sanctions-oriented approach toward Pyongyang and submission to the US.

“Ditching confrontation and hostility is a precondition for opening the door for the two Koreas’ reconciliation and unity,” the daily said.

South Korea’s dialogue offer came after President Moon Jae-in during his speech in Berlin earlier this month proposed ways to bring permanent peace to the divided peninsula.

Moon earlier vowed to seek a dual-track approach of North Korea’s denuclearisation and engagement with Pyongyang.

On Monday, the government said that it wants North Korea to show a response via the now-suspended communication channels.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said that North Korea did not respond to a South Korean official’s call at a liaison office at the truce village of Panmunjom.

A ministry official said that President Moon does not see the newspaper’s comment as North Korea’s official response to Seoul’s dialogue offer.

He said that it may be difficult for the two Koreas to hold talks on Friday, given the short period for preparation and the disconnected communication lines, even if Pyongyang gives a positive reply later in the day.

“But it is important for South and North Korea to take initiative in resolving issues on the Korean Peninsula,” the official said, adding, “There is no deadline for Seoul’s efforts (to improve ties) via dialogue.”

–IANS

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