South Korea warns North against rejecting offer of talks on Kaesong
Iran Press TV
Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:6AM GMT
South Korea has offered North Korea formal talks over the issue of suspended operations at the joint Kaesong industrial zone, warning that Seoul would take 'significant measures' if Pyongyang rejects the offer.
Seoul on Thursday set April 26 as the deadline for Pyongyang to respond to the offer.
South Korean Unification Ministry Spokesman Kim Hyung-seok said that there was "no change on our stance to support the stable operation and improvement" of Kaesong.
"But we cannot let this situation continue as it is," Kim added. "If North Korea rejects our proposal… we have no choice but to take significant measures."
North Korea withdrew its entire workforce and suspended operations at Kaesong earlier this month. The move came amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula following joint military exercises held by South Korea and the United States.
On April 11, South Korea called for Pyongyang to "come to the dialogue table" over the Kaesong issue. However, Pyongyang said the offer by South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae was a "meaningless and cunning" gesture.
A spokesman of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said on April 11 that if the South "is genuine about having talks… it should first abandon the confrontational posture."
The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of escalating military rhetoric following the participation of nuclear-capable US B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers in the joint drills with South Korea.
Pyongyang has said its military should be prepared to attack "all US military bases in the Asia-Pacific region, including the US mainland, Hawaii, and Guam."
On April 15, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Washington was open to talks with North Korea if Pyongyang takes "meaningful steps" to honor its international commitments.
North Korea has described Washington's willingness for dialogue with Pyongyang as an attempt to unilaterally disarm North Korea, saying it will not give up its nuclear program until the entire world is denuclearized.
North Korea has called on the United States and South Korea to immediately halt their military drills while demanding the withdrawal of UN sanctions as conditions for dialogue to defuse the tensions.
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