North Korean Official Blames South Korea For The Stoppage Of Cross-Border Talks
Yoona Choi, May 18, 2018, 10:14 a.m.
A senior North Korean official on Thursday put the blame for canceled cross-border talks firmly on the "incompetent" South Korean government. "Unless the serious situation which led to the suspension of the North-South high-level talks is settled, it will never be easy to sit face to face again with the present regime of South Korea," the North's official Korean Central News Agency quoted Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, as saying.
Ri added, "The direction of the future North-South ties relations will entirely depend on the behavior of the South Korean authorities."
North Korea in the small hours Wednesday abruptly canceled high-level talks planned for that day, citing a South Korea-U.S. air drill and a high-profile press conference by a prominent defector in the National Assembly.
Ri accused Seoul of hypocrisy in expressing regret at the cancelation. "Far from thinking over the meaning of the step taken by [North Korea] and taking necessary follow-up measures, they went so senseless as to express 'regret' and 'urge' something," he fulminated.
He denounced the South Korean authorities "an ignorant and incompetent group devoid of the elementary sense of the present situation."
The regime took exception to the "Max Thunder" joint South Korea-U.S. aerial drill, which has been going on since last Friday, and widely publicized remarks by Thae Yong-ho, the former No. 2 man in the North Korean Embassy in London and now a vocal critic of the regime, warning that North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons.
Ri fumed the drill "is aimed at precision strike on key strategic objects of [North Korea] and the seizure of the air control together with the U.S."