N. Korea rejects dialogue with South Korea

Featured Korea - April 15th, 2013

North Korea has rejected South Korea’s offer to hold talks after Pyongyang ceased operations in the joint Kaesong industrial complex, severing the last symbolic strand of inter-Korean cooperation.

Pyongyang on Sunday denounced South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s offer to engage in dialogue to defuse tensions as an “empty, meaningless” act, reports Yonyap news agency.

Seoul’s offer is “a cunning ploy to hide the South’s policy of confrontation and mislead its responsibility for putting the Kaesong industrial complex into a crisis,” said a spokesman for the North’s Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea.

Operations in the joint complex ground to a halt after North Korea withdrew all of its 53,000 workers and shuttered the South Korean entrance to the industrial park.

While the closure is intended to hurt South Korean companies operating in the complex, the move could also lead to loss of large revenues the North makes from Kaesong, analysts said.

The North’s hardline stance comes amid speculations it would test-fire a medium-range missile during the birth anniversary of its founder, Kim Il Sung. Pyongyang also ratcheted up its rhetoric and threats of a nuclear war, prompting the US, South Korea and Japan to scramble missile defence systems in the region.