World / Asia-Pacific

ROK renews call for dialogue with DPRK as talks offer fails

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-02-02 15:00

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) renewed call on Monday for resuming dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) after its offer to hold talks in January failed amid disputes over various issues.

Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol told a press briefing that if the DPRK really has a will to resolve pending issues and improve inter-Korean relations, it should come to dialogue table without repeating its wasting claims any more.

His comments came after Seoul's proposal for talks actually failed with no response coming from Pyongyang until the end of January.

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae offered on Dec 29 to hold ministerial-level talks with DPRK counterparts within January to discuss all issues of mutual concern irrespective of dialogue form.

The ROK demanded discussions on having reunion event for Korean families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, hoping the event could be held around the Lunar New Year holiday that falls in mid-February this year.

The DPRK kept mum about the dialogue offer in the past month, saying that if the ROK lifts sanctions against the country, it will respond to call for the reunion event.

Pyongyang also suggested to the United States its temporary suspension of nuclear tests in return for suspension of joint annual military exercises between Seoul and Washington in 2015.

The DPRK called on the ROK to ban civic groups from floating anti-DPRK leaflets across the border, but Seoul refrained from taking active measures citing freedom of expression.

The ROK has maintained a position that it can talk about all issues if inter-Korean talks are resumed, but the DPRK has called for the preconditions to be met before any dialogue is held.

The ROK military has said it would conduct the joint military exercises with US forces from early March as scheduled, clouding prospects for improved inter-Korean relations.

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