N.Korea Threatens to Call Off Family Reunions

North Korea threatened on Thursday to delay or cancel reunions of families separated by the Korean War over South Korean press reports it deemed disrespectful to leader Kim Jong-un. The two Koreas agreed only a day earlier to arrange the reunions at Mt. Kumgang on Feb. 20-25.

The North's National Defense Commission threatened to "reconsider fulfilling the agreement" if South Korea keeps reporting negatively on leader Kim Jong-un and his regime.

The commission was apparently peeved at press reports here criticizing Kim for failing to take off his shoes in a nursery in Pyongyang, which in much of Asia is considered extremely boorish behavior.

The North also objected to the U.S.'s B-52 strategic bombers maneuvering over the West Sea on the same day when Red Cross officials from the two Koreas met.

"As we were reaching agreement on the separated families, B-52 bombers were engaging in nuclear strike drills against us above [South] Korea's western sea," the statement said.

It also added dialogue and aggressive war maneuvering cannot go hand in hand "just as reconciliation and conflict cannot co-exist."

"It's a nonsense to hold family reunions in a situation where dangerous nuclear war drills are staged."

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told reporters the North stick to Wednesday's agreement.

The Defense Ministry said joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises will go ahead as scheduled in late February.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 07, 2014 09:12 KST