North Korea Rejects South's Talks Offer
MOSCOW, April 26 (RIA Novosti) – North Korea has rejected a proposal from the South to hold immediate talks over their joint industrial park in the border town of Kaesong, South Korean media reported on Friday, quoting North Korea's National Defense Commission.
South Korea made an official proposal to the North on Thursday to hold talks over the Kaesong Industrial Complex, from which Pyongyang pulled out its workers earlier this month, and allow it to provide humanitarian aid to South Korean workers who are stuck there. Seoul warned 'serious consequences' would follow if Pyongyang failed to respond to the offer.
North Korea responded with a similarly defiant statement. 'Pyongyang will be the first to take tough and conclusive action if the South insists on worsening the situation at the border town,' a spokesman for the policy office at the North's National Defense Commission said in a statement carried by North Korea's official media, Seoul's Yonhap news agency reported.
The complex, established back in 2004 as a rare symbol of co-operation on the Korean Peninsula, ceased operating earlier this month after North Korea denied entry to South Korean workers and pulled out all of its 53,000 laborers. Pyongyang accused Seoul of using the joint project to insult the North's leaders.
A total of 176 South Korean nationals, who chose to remain at the industrial site, are thought to have only small amounts of food and supplies left.
Friday's announcement follows a period of heightened tension on the peninsula since North Korea tested a long-range missile in December, prompting the UN to respond with sanctions. The North then carried out its third nuclear test in February, and subsequently threatened to attack US forces in the region with nuclear weapons.
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