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High-level inter-Korean talks called off

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-06-11 19:26

SEOUL - High-level inter-governmental talks between Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) scheduled to be held on Wednesday and Thursday in Seoul was called off due to the disagreement over the level of chief delegates, the South Korean Unification Ministry said Tuesday.

"The north side (DPRK) unilaterally notified us of its decision to delay the dispatch of its delegation," Kim Hyung-seok, spokesman of the Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean relations told a press briefing.

Kim noted that the DPRK informed us that the inter-Korean talks will not be held unless the ministerial-level official from South Korea comes to the dialogue table.

Seoul's delegation is led by Vice Unification Minister Kim Nam- shik, but the DPRK lashed out at such nomination of lower-level governmental official. The DPRK nominated Kang Ji-young, director at the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) as chief negotiator.  

South Korea and the DPRK agreed on Monday at the working-level talks in the border village of Panmunjom to hold the first high- level talks in six years.

The two sides, however, disagreed on what should be discussed on the agenda and who should lead the five-member delegation on each side.  

The delegation of the north side will be headed by minister- level authorities, the DPRK's KCNA news agency report said.

Seoul said it will sent Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae to the meeting and wanted Kim Yang Gon, secretary of the Central Committee of Workers' Party of Korea, at the talks, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Seoul wanted the two-day meeting to discuss normalizing the operation of the Kaesong Industrial Zone, resuming the tours of Mount Kumgang and reunion of families separated by the Korean War.

Pyongyang said the meeting will also talk about the issue of jointly celebrating the 13th anniversary of the June 15 South- North Joint Declaration and 41st anniversary of the July 4 North- South Joint Statement, the KCNA reported.  

The DPRK on Thursday proposed holding inter-governmental meetings with South Korea on inter-Korean issues. The latter accepted the proposal the same day, hoping the talks will become an opportunity to help forge trust.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have intensified since the DPRK launched a rocket on December 12, 2012 and conducted its third nuclear test on February 12, which drew international condemnation.


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