North Korea slams South for talk failure

North Korea slams South for talk failure

SEOUL - Reuters
North Korea slams South for talk failure

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L) visits a food factory in Pyongyang. AFP photo

North Korea blamed the South June 13 for scuttling fresh dialogue that aimed to ease tensions between the rival Koreas, saying Seoul deliberately torpedoed reconciliation talks planned for this week.

The latest outburst indicates Pyongyang may seek a return to confrontation rather than dialogue, some observers said. Earlier this year, North Korea threatened nuclear and missile strikes against South Korea and the United States after it was hit with U.N. sanctions for its February nuclear weapons test.

This week’s aborted talks had been intended to reopen a closed joint industrial zone with the South in what would have been a confidence-building measure between two countries that remain officially at war. The talks were cancelled when the two Koreas disagreed over the rank of the officials to head the delegations that were to meet in Seoul.

“The problem ... is not a simple issue related to the level of the head of the delegation to the talks but a manifestation of its sinister intention to make the talks between authorities abortive,” the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement carried by the KCNA news agency.

Seoul had wanted senior ruling Workers’ Party official Kim Yang-gon, a close advisor to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, to attend the meeting. Pyongyang said that was unheard of in protocol terms as the official was too senior to meet with Seoul’s Unification Minister who was heading the South’s delegation.