Gov't Explains Rebuff of N.Korean Overtures

      May 24, 2016 12:20

      The Defense Ministry on Monday formally declined a request for military talks from North Korea that arrived via a supposedly severed hotline Friday.

      "We pointed out that the current tensions on the Korean Peninsula were caused by the North's provocative acts like nuclear tests and missiles launches. We regret that the North offered military talks without any mention on the North Korean nuclear issue," ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said.

      A government official here said, "Whenever it's driven into a corner, the North habitually pulls out the dialogue card, but once the talks take place they sabotage them with absurd demands. They're more interested in causing discord in the South than in having a sensible conversation."

      All five military meetings during the Lee Myung-bak administration were held at the North's urging and broke up acrimoniously.

      The North is reeling from international sanctions tightened after its latest nuclear test and rocket launch, and Seoul has resumed propaganda broadcasts along the demilitarized zone.

      North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned against the propaganda broadcasts and spread of propaganda leaflets in a speech at the Workers Party congress earlier this month and proposed military talks.

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