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North rejects Seoul’s invitation to defense talks

July 21,2015
Pyongyang on Sunday rebuffed Seoul’s invitation to attend the upcoming Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD), denouncing the gesture as a “treacherous attempt” to take advantage of inter-Korean talks as a “political means of cajolement.”

The statement, issued through Pyongyang’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK), comes two days after Seoul’s Ministry of Defense sent an invitation to the communist regime for the first time in the regional security forum’s three-year history.

Friday’s invitation was delivered to the vice minister of the People’s Armed Forces via the telephone line at the west coast border. Some 250 vice defense ministers and security experts from 33 countries are expected to participate in the fourth SDD, which will run from Sept. 9 to 11.

“It’s loathsome on its own that South Korea is hosting talks on security,” Pyongyang’s statement read, continuing that Seoul is “conspiring” with the United States to face off against its regime and scheme an invasion using nuclear bombs.

Pyongyang further noted in its statement that Seoul’s reference to peaceful talks is nothing more than a sign of derision and deception, given that Seoul’s policies toward the North are fundamentally based on hatred.

“That sort of puerile play on words will only arouse mockery and denunciation.”

North Korea also adamantly rejected a proposal by the South’s National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa, who on Friday suggested a summit between both countries’ assembly speakers.

During a welcoming speech at a ceremony commemorating the 67th Constitution Day, held at the National Assembly, Chung said he wished to meet his northern counterpart sometime around Liberation Day on Aug. 15. Suggestions on the time and location of the meeting, however, are fully up to Pyongyang, he insisted.

In regard to Chung’s statement, Pyongyang on Sunday said that the current “mood” between the two Koreas was not suitable for representatives to sit face-to-face.

The statement, which was also issued through the CPRK, specifically pointed to the leaflets launched in balloons by civic groups that criticize the regime, and the joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, as the primary reasons why inter-Korean relations have soured.

South Korea’s Ministry of Unification on Monday said it was “regretful” that Pyongyang disparaged its will to talk, and that it remains open to the various channels of discussion Seoul previously proposed.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]


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