Pyongyang on Thursday turned down talks about making reunions of families separated by the Korean War a regular fixture. The North Korean Red Cross declined Seoul's proposal in a telephone message, a Unification Ministry official said.
"The environment and atmosphere" for such talks "have not been created," the North said in the telephone message. "Very important humanitarian issues like regular family reunions cannot be resolved in inter-Korean Red Cross talks."
The message implies that the North is unwilling to talk while massive South Korea-U.S. military exercises are going on, and that it wants any talks to involve more senior officials.
"Agencies concerned are consulting on how to respond," the government here said. "We could consider talks at the senior government level."