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North Korea says no to dialogue after invitations from Seoul

North Korea dampened hopes for meaningful dialogue with South Korea Monday, in a year that Seoul had earmarked for greater cooperation with its troublesome neighbor.

“Progress in inter-Korean ties cannot be expected due to the current situation,” read a blunt statement from the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

Three days earlier, Seoul’s parliamentary leader and defense ministry had made separate proposals to bring Pyongyang to the table for talks, after months of border tensions and illegal missile tests by North Korea.

August 15 will be the 70th anniversary of the peninsula’s liberation from Japanese rule — while a cause for celebration, the end of World War II also led to a split between the Communist North and the United States-backed South.

Thus began a sorrowful division of a single ethnicity and even of family members, which lasts to this day.

Elderly separated relatives still wait to be reunited, but the inter-Korean border is lined on either side by thousands of troops.

It appears as though the uneasy status quo is set to remain for the foreseeable future, as North Korea maintains its distance from the international community – keeping outsiders out through its well-established nuclear arsenal.

Pyongyang regularly blames activists in South Korea and joint military drills with the U.S. for its hostile attitude toward Seoul.

The South’s Unification Ministry responded Monday by stating via a spokesperson its “deep regret that the North has rejected all of our proposals for talks.”

JTW

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The Journal of Turkish Weekly

JTW is a respected Turkish news source in English language on international politics. Established in 2004, JTW is published by Ankara-based Turkish think tank International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).

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