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DPRK rejects South Korean proposal to hold high-level talks

October 29, 2014, 6:04 UTC+3 SEOUL
The North’s National Defence Commission sent a fax message to the South’s presidential office reiterating its protest of the scattering of propaganda leaflets across the border
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© EPA/YONHAP

SEOUL, October 29. /TASS/. North Korea (DPRK) has rejected South Korea’s proposal to hold high-level inter-Korean talks this week, the South Korean Unification Ministry said on Wednesday.

The North’s National Defence Commission sent a fax message to the South’s presidential office through a military hotline reiterating its protest of the scattering of propaganda leaflets across the border, according to the ministry.

The commission claimed that the South's government is not interested in holding the dialogue and it is rather trying to abort the agreed-upon vice ministerial contact, said the ministry, Yonhap news agency reported.

The North said it's fully up to the South whether to hold the talks or stick to the leaflet spread, the ministry added.

The ministry, handling inter-Korean affairs, voiced disappointment over the North’s attitude.

“We express disappointment that it become difficult to open high-level talks on Oct. 30, as we proposed, due to North Korea's attitude,” the ministry's spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol told a briefing. He questioned whether Pyongyang has the will to improve inter-Korean relations. The government, he reaffirmed, has no plans to control the scattering of leaflets by activists, which is associated with freedom of speech. He described the North's call as an “unjust demand,” which is not acceptable.

Lim, however, said the agreement to hold high-level talks between late October and early November “still holds true.” On Oct. 4, the two sides agreed to open the talks between late October and early November. The North asked the South to fix a date at its convenience. The South has proposed that the talks be held on Thursday at the truce village of Panmunjom.

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