The Korea Herald


S. Korea working to find 'true' reason for delay in inter-Korean dialogue: official

By Yonhap

Published : May 16, 2018 - 09:46

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South Korea is moving to identify North Korea's true intention in delaying inter-Korean dialogue scheduled to be held Wednesday, an official from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

"The development took place before dawn, and so officials from the National Security Office had to consult with officials from the unification, foreign and defense ministries via phone," the Cheong Wa Dae official said.

"They are working to find out the exact meaning of the message the North sent," the official added.

The remarks came hours after the North said in a message that it was indefinitely postponing the high-level dialogue that was set to be held at the border village of Panmunjom.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (Yonhap) South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (Yonhap)

Pyongyang reportedly cited the ongoing joint military exercise of South Korean and US forces in Korea.

"The South Korean authorities, together with the US, has been staging the largest-ever '2018 Max Thunder' joint air drill throughout south Korea since May 11 in a bid to make a preemptive air strike at the DPRK and win the air," the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in a report.

"If the US and the south Korean authorities regard the phase of improving inter-Korean ties and the DPRK-US dialogue provided by the proactive and broadminded efforts and measures of the DPRK as something allowed any time and any hour, then they are sadly mistaken," it added. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The Cheong Wa Dae official said the Unification Ministry, which normally handles inter-Korean issues, will announce the country's initial reaction to the North-initiated delay in inter-Korean dialogue at 10 a.m., adding the government was still trying to learn the North's true intentions.

The delay in inter-Korean dialogue follows a historic inter-Korean summit, held April 27, between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at which the two leaders agreed the countries will immediately halt all hostile acts against each other while affirming their commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The delay, however, also comes ahead of a much anticipated meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump, which many believe will set the terms for the North's denuclearization process.

The Trump-Kim summit is set to be held in Singapore on June 12. (Yonhap)