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S. Korea rejects N.K. offer for joint meeting involving parties, key figures

South Korea on Tuesday rejected North Korea's offer to hold a meeting involving both sides' political parties and social organizations in August, saying that denuclearization should be prioritized as a precondition for dialog.

North Korea on Monday proposed to hold a joint conference of political parties, organizations and individuals between the two Koreas around Aug. 15 to mark the 71st anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule. The North offered to have a working-level contact in July for the August talks.
Photo shows a test launch of the surface-to-surface medium long-range strategic ballistic missile Hwasong-10. (Yonhap)
Photo shows a test launch of the surface-to-surface medium long-range strategic ballistic missile Hwasong-10. (Yonhap)

South Korea's unification ministry said that the North's offer lacks sincerity as its peace offensive came amid North Korea's ceaseless pursuit of nuclear and missile tests.

"It is North Korea's traditional way of conducting a propaganda campaign against South Korea," the ministry said in a statement.

"North Korea's vow to stick to nuclear and missile tests clearly shows that its dialog offer is just a bogus proposal."

The government called for the North to show commitment to denuclearization if Pyongyang wants to improve inter-Korean relations and seek peaceful unification.

Since the party congress in May, the North has proposed to hold military talks with South Korea several times. But Seoul has rejected the offer as a propaganda ploy aimed at driving a wedge to break the united front of U.N. sanctions against the North.

On Wednesday, North Korea plans to convene a major meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly in a follow-up to the party congress, at which Kim was elected as the chairman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

South Korea's point man on unification said Tuesday that as long as North Korea sticks to its nuclear weapons program, Seoul cannot hold meaningful dialogue with North Korea.

"Now is the time that we have to focus on making the North give up its nuclear program, rather than seek dialogue and exchanges with the North," Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo told a forum on North Korea's finance. (Yonhap)

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