Seoul has no plans for new negotiations with Pyongyang
Updated: 2015-12-15 08:05
By Agencies in Seoul(China Daily)
The Republic of Korea said on Monday that it had no plans to propose a fresh dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea after rare high-level talks over the weekend fizzled out with no agreement.
The vice-ministerial-level talks on ways to improve ties - the first of their kind for nearly two years - ended on Saturday in the DPRK border city of Kaesong after two days of marathon negotiations, with no agreement and no commitment to meet again.
Both sides blamed each other for the deadlock, with Pyongyang accusing Seoul of refusing to discuss "core issues", and the ROK accusing the DPRK of prioritizing economic projects over humanitarian issues.
The ROK's chief delegate had proposed continuing negotiations on Monday, but Pyongyang refused, and Seoul's Unification Ministry said on Monday it will not be renewing the invitation anytime soon.
"For now, we are not considering" any further proposal for talks, Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee told reporters.
Jeong reiterated Seoul's stance that it will build foundations for peaceful reunification through open-minded talks.
On Saturday, the DPRK blamed the ROK for the breakdown of the talks. The DPRK's official KCNA news agency said that Pyongyang has "made every possible sincere effort" and offered "constructive proposals" to tackle some of the most urgent and realizable issues.
However, Seoul rejected discussion of several core issues, including the resumption of the Mount Kumgang tour and made unreasonable assertions, the KCNA said.
The DPRK had wanted the ROK to resume lucrative tours to the scenic resort, which Seoul suspended in 2008 after a female ROK tourist was shot dead by a DPRK guard. The ROK wanted to focus on setting up regular family reunions for those separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
In the end, neither issue was addressed as both sides failed to agree on a mutual acceptable way to kick off the discussions.
AFP - Xinhua
(China Daily 12/15/2015 page11)