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(LEAD) N. Korea denounces S. Korea's dialogue offer as 'cunning ploy'
SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Sunday denounced an offer of dialogue by South Korean President Park Geun-hye to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula as a "cunning ploy," implicitly rejecting any dialogue with Seoul for the time being.

   The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, which is in charge of handling relations with South Korea, made the remarks days after Park offered to engage in dialogue with Pyongyang, saying she was willing to "activate the trust-building process" on the peninsula.

   Park offered talks as operations at an inter-Korean industrial park in the North's border city of Kaesong grounded to a halt last week. Pyongyang banned South Korean managers from entering the park on April 3 amid sky-high tensions over weeks of warlike threats from North Korea.

   The offer of dialogue is "a cunning ploy to hide the South's policy of confrontation and mislead its responsibility for putting the Kaesong Industrial Complex into a crisis," said a spokesman for the North's committee in an article carried by the North's state news agency.

   The North's committee also described the South's offer of dialogue as an "empty shell" and blamed South Korea and the U.S. for raising tensions with their annual joint military drills, which will be wrapped up by the end of this month.

   "Under these circumstances, is it possible to hold a dialogue? ... Such a dialogue would be meaningless," said the spokesman for the North's committee.

   North Korea withdrew all of its 53,000 workers and temporarily suspended operations at the Kaesong complex, the last-remaining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, early last week amid indications that it was ready to launch a mid-range ballistic missile.

   As tensions soared, Park made the strongest overture of dialogue yet toward North Korea on Thursday, telling a meeting with ruling party lawmakers that she intends to "talk with North Korea" and continue humanitarian assistance to the impoverished nation regardless of political and security tensions, according to participants.

   On the same day, her point man on North Korea, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae, urged Pyongyang to step forward to the negotiating table to resolve the suspension of operations at Kaesong.

   The remarks were seen as Park's clearest overture yet toward Pyongyang and show that she is shifting the focus of her North Korea policy to dialogue, experts said, though she also renewed her commitment to deal strongly with North Korean provocations as a matter of principle.

   On Friday in Seoul, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he supported Park's offer of dialogue, but warned that North Korea would make a "huge mistake" if it launches a missile.

  (END)
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