21 July 2017

News Report: Fighting Words - Pyongyang Blasts Seoul’s ‘Nonsense’ Invitation to Talks

Just three days after South Korea proposed holding inter-Korean military talks with its northern neighbor, Pyongyang’s most notable publication slammed the efforts as "nonsense."

According to the Rodong Sinmun, if Seoul wants to have any chance at keeping the peace, it needs to fully abandon its confrontational policies and say goodbye to its decades-long dependence on the United States. 

"Ditching confrontation and hostility is a precondition for opening the door for the two Koreas’ reconciliation and unity," stated the Hermit Kingdom’s top newspaper.

Talks were proposed after recently elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced in Berlin that he wanted to hit the reset button and bring about a calmer relationship between the divided Koreas.

"We do not wish for the collapse of North Korea," Moon told reporters at the G20 Summit. "We will not pursue any form of unification by absorbing the other. We will not pursue a unification by force."

The meeting, proposed for Friday at the truce village within the well-known demilitarized zone (DMZ) would be a first step toward Moon’s hopes of easing tensions. 

South Korea’s Defense Ministry is not considering the Rodong Sinmun response as an official rejection from Pyongyang, though some officials believe the meeting may be pushed back given the short notice and disconnected communication lines. 

In February 2016, North Korea cut off its diplomatic channels with the South in response to Seoul’s move to shut down a joint industrial complex in the North’s border city of Kaesong, a response to Pyongyang’s ongoing missile tests. 

Speaking to Yonhap News Agency, a South Korean ministry official said peace was still a viable option for the two nations.

"It is important for South and North Korea to take initiative in resolving issues on the Korean Peninsula," said the official. "There is no deadline for Seoul’s efforts [to improve ties] via dialogue."

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.