Seoul pushes for suc­cess­ful talks

The Republican Herald - - NATION / WORLD -

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea strongly crit­i­cized South Korea over on­go­ing U.S.South Korean mil­i­tary ex­er­cises on Thurs­day and said it will not re­turn to talks with its ri­val until Seoul re­solves its grievances.

The com­ments came a day af­ter North Korea can­celed a high-level meet­ing with the South be­cause of the drills and threat­ened to scrap next month’s historic meet­ing be­tween its leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, say­ing it has no in­ter­est in a “one-sided” af­fair meant to pres­sure it to aban­don its nu­clear weapons.

The North’s threat cooled what had been an un­usual flurry of diplo­matic moves from a coun­try that last year con­ducted a provoca­tive se­ries of weapons tests that had many fear­ing the re­gion was on the edge of war. It also un­der­scored South Korea’s del­i­cate role as an in­ter­me­di­ary be­tween the U.S. and North Korea and raised ques­tions over Seoul’s claim that Kim has a gen­uine in­ter­est in deal­ing away his nukes.

An­a­lysts said it’s un­likely that North Korea in­tends to scut­tle all diplo­macy. More likely, they said, is that it wants to gain lever­age ahead of the talks be­tween Kim and Trump, sched­uled for June 12 in Sin­ga­pore.

In quotes pub­lished by the North’s of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency, Ri Son Gwon, chair­man of a North Korean agency that deals with in­ter-Korean af­fairs, ac­cused South Korea’s gov­ern­ment of be­ing “an ig­no­rant and in­com­pe­tent group de­void of the ele­men­tary sense of the present sit­u­a­tion, of any con­crete picture of their di­a­logue part­ner and of the abil­ity to dis­cern the present trend of the times.”

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