November 28, 2018 09:20
Dialogue with North Korea looks in danger of drying up after Pyongyang pulled out of high-level talks with the U.S. and South Korea cannot persuade leader Kim Jong-un to visit Seoul.
A diplomatic source said, "President Moon Jae-in is worried about the recent impasse with North Korea" and voiced these concerns over tea with his aides before leaving on his current overseas trip.
Cheong Wa Dae had hoped that U.S.-North Korea dialogue would resume once the UN Security Council gave South Korea the green light last week to survey sections of the North's railroads that are to be repaired and connected with the South.
South Korea and the U.S. had already decided to scale down the annual Foal Eagle joint military exercises next spring in an apparent attempt to appease North Korea. But Pyongyang remains silent.
"It was Cheong Wa Dae that guaranteed North Korea's 'genuine intention' to scrap its nuclear weapons and the government said that to convince the U.S. to allow the surveys of the North's railroads," a government source here said. "The longer North Korea takes to return to the negotiating table, the heavier South Korea's responsibility becomes."
Cheong Wa Dae admitted Monday that Kim is unlikely to visit Seoul this year.
North Korea continued to criticize South Korea and the U.S. on Tuesday for taking part in a UN resolution condemning its human rights violations. The propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said the U.S. and South Korea should realize that "acting rashly" at a time of U.S.-North Korean dialogue and North-South rapprochement efforts could cause "everything to go down the drain."
The North has yet to respond to the news that the joint railroad survey can go ahead, which was viewed as a breakthrough. Seoul offered on Monday to start the survey later this week, but Pyongyang has not responded.
Meanwhile, the White House said Tuesday that U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Moon on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Argentina this week.
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