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Pyongyang`s outrageous excuse for rejecting inter-Korean talks

Pyongyang`s outrageous excuse for rejecting inter-Korean talks

Posted October. 30, 2014 01:09,   


North Korea on Wednesday rejected South Korea`s offer of a second round of high-level talks. The North`s National Defense Commission sent a fax message to the South`s National Security Office at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, reiterating its protest of the scattering of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border.

The commission blamed the South Korean government for not stopping the leaflet spreading, claiming that it is up to Seoul to decide whether to seek high-level talks or hold on to the leaflets scattering.

It is regrettable that Pyongyang refused to hold the second round of high-level talks under the excuse of the leaflet scattering, on which Seoul has no legal ground for cracking down. When South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Lee Hee-ho, the widow of the late former President Kim Dae-jung, on Tuesday, the latter said the anti-Pyongyang leaflets would do harm to the inter-Korean relations. The president responded by saying, "This is a free society, and there is no legal way to stop it." That is the truth.

When Seoul offered high-level talks on August 11, Pyongyang remained silent until October 4, when three powerful North Korean officials, who attended the closing ceremony of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, proposed to hold the talks in late October or early November. The North had remained silent for more than two weeks despite the South`s offer to talk on October 30. As Seoul demanded Pyongyang to make its position clear, the North held the South responsible for the talks not taking place.

For less than a month since the three North Korean officials` sudden visit to the South, the inter-Korean relations have been on a roller-coaster ride due to the North`s violation of the de facto sea border off the west coast, gunfire at balloons containing anti-Pyongyang leaflets, provocation in the demilitarized zone.

The North`s Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday criticized South Korea for agreeing to a further delay in retaking wartime operational control of troops from the United States, labeled the postponement as an "act of crime against the (Korean) nation." The state-run news agency urged Seoul to "immediately scrap the deal" on the wartime OPCON transfer.

A U.S. military expert reported that satellite imagery showed a new test stand at the North`s Sinpo South Shipyard, which was "probably intended to explore the possibility of launching ballistic missiles from submarines or of a shipboard vertical launch ballistic missile capability." If successful, the new facility could make useless the South`s "kill chain," which aims to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea`s imminent nuclear or missile attack on the South.

Entangled with the North`s dialogue gestures, the Park administration has been too rosy about the inter-Korean relations. After all, Seoul`s dismantlement of a propaganda Christmas tree in the border area was carried out to please Pyongyang. Even if the North comes to the dialogue table later on, the South should be engaged in the talks with a cool head.