North Korea snubs South’s call for military talks
South Korean-proposed military talks with North Korea have failed to materialize as Pyongyang made no reaction to the offer, which had been made with a purpose to ease tensions.
Seoul had earlier offered the military talks to be held on Friday but received no response from Pyongyang as of Friday afternoon Korea time.
A spokesman for the South’s Defense Ministry, Moon Sang-gyun, said in a Friday press briefing that the military talks had become practically impossible since Pyongyang had failed to make any reaction.
He said, however, that dialog remained urgent to reduce tensions.
“It is an urgent needed task for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula to restore dialog in the military area and to ease military tensions between the South and the North,” he said.
The spokesman further called on North Korea to respond to his country’s proposal for such talks.
The North Korean snub has been described as a setback in inter-Korean relations under South Korea’s newly-elected President Moon Jae-in and his hopes for a fresh dialog.
The South’s proposal was the first formal overture by the country since cross-border ties broke down early last year under the government of Moon’s predecessor, who imposed unilateral sanctions on the North for its missile and military nuclear program.
Moon took office in May, vowing to both engage with Pyongyang and exert pressure on it to make it hold back its nuclear and missile programs.
But President Moon has also been involved in joint military drills with Pyongyang’s most hostile adversary, the United States, on the Korean Peninsula.
The North recently announced that it had conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Some experts said the missile is capable of reaching US territory. North Korea has also carried out five nuclear tests.
All such activities have been opposed by much of the international community. The United Nations has imposed several rounds of sanctions on the North to stop its missile and nuclear programs.