North stays silent on Paektu talks, studies

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North stays silent on Paektu talks, studies

North Korea has kept mum on follow-up talks with South Korea to discuss a joint study on potential volcanic activity on a North Korean mountain, casting doubt over whether the two sides will meet anytime soon.

The development comes amid no signs of progress to break a year-long deadlock over the North’s two deadly attacks on the South last year that killed 50 South Koreans. Pyongyang has so far rejected Seoul’s demand that the North apologize for the two provocations, which plunged inter-Korean ties to their lowest points in decades.

The two Koreas agreed to hold expert-led talks in May and to hold an on-site survey of Mount Paektu in mid-June during their second round of experts’ meetings in April. The North proposed the rare meeting on potential volcanic activity in March, less than a week after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan.

South Korea has proposed holding expert-level talks with North Korea from May 11-13 in either Seoul or Pyongyang as a follow-up measure to the April agreement, but there was no reaction from North Korea as of Monday, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry in charge of relations with Pyongyang.

The mountain, the highest on the Korean Peninsula, holds significance for both countries.


Yonhap

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