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S. Korea says no plan to offer fresh Asiad talks with N. Korea

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Published : 2014-07-29 13:39
Updated : 2014-07-29 13:39

South Korea has no intention of offering another round of talks with North Korea on its planned Asian Games participation as Pyongyang is responsible for the breakdown of the previous meeting, a government official said Tuesday.

"For now, we have no plan to first propose (talks) since the North Korean side unilaterally declared the failure of the previous meeting and walked out of it," an official at Seoul's unification ministry told reporters.

There is no change in the South Korean government's position to wait and see North Korea's attitude, added the official.

The North said earlier it would send 350 athletes and coaches to the Asian Games to open in the South's city of Incheon in September. It also hopes to dispatch the same number of cheerleaders.

The two Koreas held working-level talks on July 17 to discuss details of Pyongyang's plan, including who will pay for the stay of its delegation in Incheon.

The two sides failed to reach an agreement and no follow-up meeting is scheduled.

The ministry official stressed that the South Korean government is not interested in any unannounced contact with Pyongyang on the issue.

"As far as the North Korea policy is concerned, the Park Geun-hye government maintains the principle of transparency," said the official.

The North is required to submit a formal list of its participating athletes to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) by Aug. 15.

Many observers expect South and North Korea to resume relevant discussions in the near future.

The North appears to be determined to take part in the Incheon Asian Games, given its media reports that its leader Kim Jong-un gave an instruction to that effect, said Koh Yu-hwan, professor of North Korea studies at Dongkuk University in Seoul.

"The two sides still have some time. Whoever suggests another working-level contact, it will likely take place not long after the July 30 by-elections (in South Korea)," he said.

Despite such a war of nerves between the two sides, inter-Korean civilian exchanges have continued.

Six representatives of a South Korean civic group headed for the North's border town of Kaesong for consultations on a possible joint event to mark the National Foundation Day on Oct. 3.

The group, which calls itself the Tangun People's Peaceful Unification Council, hopes for the joint celebration of the anniversary with a North Korean organization of a similar name.

Tangun, or Dangun, is the name of the legendary founder of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom.

"The civic group officials are scheduled to return to the South today. The unification ministry approved their visit to the North in line with the policy of allowing pure social and cultural exchanges in the non-political sector," the ministry official said.

"It is premature to talk about whether our ministry will support the results of today's discussions, which did not come out yet," he added. (Yonhap)

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