Pyongyang Rejects Request for Talks on More Reunions

By Sang-Hun, Choe | International New York Times, March 7, 2014 | Go to article overview

Pyongyang Rejects Request for Talks on More Reunions


Sang-Hun, Choe, International New York Times


North Korea's decision comes as it has been launching missiles and rockets, further heightening tensions.

North Korea on Thursday rejected South Korea's proposal to hold Red Cross talks to discuss arranging more family reunions at which relatives separated by the Korean War could meet for the first time in decades.

Late last month, the two Koreas held such reunions for the first time in three years, raising hopes for improved ties on the divided Korean Peninsula. But the North has since raised tensions again by testing several short-range ballistic missiles and rockets since last week.

On Thursday, North Korea told the South that the "circumstance and mood" were not right to discuss further family reunions, an apparent reference to annual joint military exercises that the United States and South Korea have been conducting since Feb. 24. The North's recent missile and rocket tests have been seen as a show of force in the face of the drills, which Pyongyang has condemned as a rehearsal for an invasion of the north.

In its most recent test, on Tuesday, North Korea launched four projectiles from its newly developed multiple-rocket launcher, one of which flew in the same area as a passenger plane at roughly the same time, according to South Korean officials.

The plane, a China Southern Airlines jet with 220 passengers on board, was flying from Tokyo to the Chinese city of Shenyang when it passed through the same area off the east coast of North Korea where the rockets traveled on Tuesday, military officials here said. …

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