May 11, 2009 08:29
North Korea on Saturday continued its rhetorical assault on the rest of the world, saying talks with the South would be pointless. "There simply is no need to even consider holding talks between the North and the South while the Lee Myung-bak group is publicly trying to smear the name of our republic and bluntly denying it," the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in a statement.
That has raised fears North Korea could sabotage inter-Korean talks in Kaesong where the South wants to discuss the detention of a Hyundai Asan staffer at the industrial park, who has been held incommunicado there for more than a month.
The statement apparently came in reaction to South Korean comments on the North's dismal human rights record.
On Friday, the North Korean Foreign Ministry also said talks with the U.S. would be "useless."
A South Korean government official said, "The second round of the Kaesong talks was suggested first by North Korea. There is a slim chance of the statement directly affecting the upcoming talks on the Kaesong industrial park." North Korea wants more money for workers at the complex and higher land use fees.
But the statement does suggest that the North Koreans will be implacable with regard to the agenda of the next round of talks. A North Korea expert said the CPRF statement may be a "warning that the talks themselves could not materialize if we mention the Hyundai Asan staffer."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com