The Korea Herald


N. Korea blames Seoul for aborted family reunion talks

By 김정보

Published : July 14, 2013 - 09:54

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North Korea blamed South Korea on Saturday for aborted talks intended to help temporarily reunite separated families on both sides, accusing Seoul of distorting its true intentions.

In a letter to South Korea's Unification Ministry from its Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, a party organization, North Korea also warned of serious consequences for what it called "arrogant" and "rude" stance from Seoul.

"(The South) must keep in mind that it will face more serious consequences than those under the Lee Myung-bak government if it continues to ridicule the other side's good intention and reply with arrogant and rude words and actions," said the letter, carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency.

South Korea's Lee Myung-bak administration stepped down early this year after its single five-year term ended. During his term, inter-Korean exchanges were virtually frozen amid acute cross-border and military tensions.

Pyongyang had initially proposed talks on family reunions along with separate negotiations aimed at resuming South Korean tours to the North's scenic Mount Kumgang that have been suspended for five years.

The North, however, put a hold on its proposal for both talks after Seoul said it will only agree to holding talks on family reunions, at least for now, citing the importance of ongoing talks on normalizing a joint industrial complex in North Korea's border town of Kaesong that has remained shut since early April.

The North said on Saturday that Seoul's decision was not understandable, claiming tours to Mount Kumgang, which had been developed and operated by a South Korean firm, were as important as the Kaesong industrial complex to South Korean companies and people.

"The desperation of the South Korean company waiting for the resumption of Mount Kumgang tours that have been suspended for five years is as serious as that of companies at the (Kaesong) industrial complex," said the letter.

"But considering the South's view, we are saying we should postpone talks on resumption of Mount Kumgang tours and reunions between separated families to focus our efforts on resolving the industrial complex issue," it added.

The tours to Mount Kumgang on North Korea's eastern coast have been suspended since 2008 when a South Korean tourist was shot dead by a North Korean guard there. (Yonhap News)