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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

North Proposes Putting off Inter-Korean Ministerial Talks

Korean Central News Agency of DPRK via Korea News Service (KNS)

    Pyongyang, March 11 (KCNA) -- Kwon Ho Ung, head of the north side's delegation to the North-South Ministerial Talks, Saturday sent a telephone message to Ri Jong Sok, chief delegate of the south side's delegation, as regards the hurdle lying in the way of this year's first talks. Recalling that on March 10 the south side officially announced that it would stage joint military exercises with the United States late in March when the 18th North-South Ministerial Talks are expected in Pyongyang, the message said: Our side has already urged your side on several occasions to stop the joint military exercises with outside forces as they run counter to the basic idea of the June 15 joint declaration and endanger the inter-Korean relations.
    We express regret at your side's intention to stage again with the U.S. large-scale joint war exercises targeted against the north quite contrary to our just demand and the nation's expectation.
    It is our stand that the hostile war exercises and peaceful dialogue cannot go together. It is quite unjustifiable for your side to stage with outside forces the provocative war exercises targeted against fellow countrymen at a time when the desire of the nation to defuse the military tensions and consolidate peace is growing stronger than ever before. The wrong behavior of your side makes it impossible to hold the 18th North-South Ministerial Talks in Pyongyang as scheduled.
    We inform you that we were compelled to put off the inter-Korean ministerial talks till an appropriate date in April as your side made it impossible to hold the talks as scheduled contrary to the June 15 joint declaration and the desire of the whole nation for peace.
    Your side will be held wholly responsible for the expected delay of this year's first inter-Korean ministerial talks.

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