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N. Korea shows no reaction to S. Korea's offer for talks

2018/01/03 10:03

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SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korea showed no reaction to South Korea's latest offer for high-level talks, Seoul officials said Wednesday, after Pyongyang extended a rare rapprochement toward the South.

South Korea proposed to hold inter-Korean talks next Tuesday at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss the North's potential participation in the PyeongChang Olympic Games and ways to improve their ties.

A South Korean liaison official attempted to contact the North through a hotline installed at the truce village, but there was no response for the second straight day, according to Seoul's unification ministry.

The North cut off two inter-Korean communication channels, including a military hotline, in February 2016 in protest of Seoul's shutdown of a joint industrial complex.

Technically speaking, the hotlines are not physically severed, but the dialogue channel is not operating as North Korea has not responded to South Korean officials' daily contact over the phone.

On New Year's Day, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that his country is willing to send a delegation to the Olympics to be held in the South and open to inter-Korean talks over the matter.

Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute, said that the North may not be able to accept the date proposed by the South, given that Kim Jong-un's birthday falls on Monday.

"On top of its internal schedule, the North apparently needs time to set details that it wants to go over before the talks. It is likely to propose a different date to Seoul," he said.

This file photo shows an inter-Korean communication hotline installed at the liaison office at the shared border village of Panmunjom. (Yonhap) This file photo shows an inter-Korean communication hotline installed at the liaison office at the shared border village of Panmunjom. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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