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Seoul remains hopeful despite North Korea's suspension of dialogue

2018/05/16 18:06

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SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea apparently believes North Korea is still faithful to its commitment to denuclearize despite the communist state's decision to indefinitely suspend its cross-border dialogue with the South, an official from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae indicated Wednesday.

"We believe the current situation is part of a difficult process to draw the same picture and that it is a pain we must endure to get good results," Yoon Young-chan, the senior press secretary to President Moon Jae-in, said in a statement.

The reaction came hours after Pyongyang abruptly postponed high-level inter-Korean dialogue that was set to be held Wednesday.

The communist state cited the ongoing joint military exercise of South Korea and the United States for the indefinite delay. A few hours later, the North's First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said his country may also reconsider a scheduled summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Seoul expressed regrets over the delay of inter-Korean talks, insisting the decision may also undermine the agreements reached between Moon and Kim at their historic summit, held April 27.

"It is regrettable that the North's unilateral move to postpone the high-level inter-Korean talks, citing the annual South Korea-U.S. air drills, does not conform with the spirit and purpose of the agreements reached between the leaders of the two countries," the unification ministry said in a statement released earlier Wednesday.

The two Koreas remain divided and technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

In the so-called Panmunjom Declaration, named after the border village where the latest inter-Korean summit was held, Moon and Kim agreed their countries will immediately halt all hostile acts against each other and pursue complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Kim, however, was earlier quoted as saying while meeting with Moon's top security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, that he understood the need for South Korea to resume its joint military drills with the U.S. that were temporarily suspended during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games held in PyeongChang, South Korea.

bdk@yna.co.kr

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