S. Korea says still open to dialogue with DPRK following breakdown in talks

Beijing, June 12 (Xinhua-ANI): South Korea's top policymaker in charge of inter-Korean relations said Wednesday that the abrupt call-off of high-level inter-governmental talks between Seoul and Pyongyang would be a temporary pain for new inter-Korean relations, implying that Seoul is still open to the dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"(The cancellation of the scheduled talks) is a pain for new inter-Korean relations" Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told reporters before holding a meeting with senior officials at the Unification Ministry. "North Korea (DPRK) should also show sincere attitude (toward South Korea) to go to the new relations."

Regarding his comments, an official at the Unification Ministry told Xinhua that the minister intended to reiterate his willingness that South Korea was open to a dialogue with Pyongyang.

Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-seok said in the prior day that the South Korean government was still open to the dialogue, but he stressed that the DPRK should take sincere attitude.

Minister Ryoo noted that the scheduled talks were "called off" rather than delayed, indicating the high-level talks between Seoul and Pyongyang would be hard in the near future.

South Korea and the DPRK agreed at the working-level talks Monday to hold their first high-level talks in six years, but the talks scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Seoul were called off on Tuesday due to disagreement over the level of chief delegates.

South Korea's five-member delegation was expected to be led by Vice Unification Minister Kim Nam-shik, but the DPRK lashed out at such nomination of a low-level official, according to the unification ministry. Pyongyang nominated Kang Ji-young, director at the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (DPRK) as chief delegate.

Seoul originally planned to send Unification Minister Ryoo to the meeting as the chief negotiator and wanted Kim Yang Gon, secretary of the Central Committee of Workers'Party of Korea, at the talks.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang did not answer a call made by Seoul at 9 a.m. through the communication line at the truce village of Panmunjom, the unification ministry said,

The ministry was scheduled to make another call in the afternoon through the same line. (Xinhua-ANI)


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