North Korea snubs peace talks with South Korea over war drills


International desk, August 16: North Korea has rejected any further talks with South Korea, apparently angered by South Korea’s leader.The country’s reunification committee issued a statement in response to an address by South Korea President Moon Jae-in on Thursday, BBC reports.

Early on Friday, North Korea test-fired two missiles into the sea off its eastern coast, the South Korean military said.

It is the sixth such test in less than a month.

Six days ago, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

The series of tests come after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed during a meeting in June to restart denuclearisation negotiations.

North Korea has faced international sanctions for its development of nuclear weapons.

What did South Korea say?

In the speech, marking Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule, President Moon vowed to unite the Korean peninsula by 2045.

Korea divided into two countries at the end of World War Two.

President Moon said the goal of achieving denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula was at its “most critical juncture”, as talks between North and South appear deadlocked.

“A new Korean peninsula, one that will bring peace and prosperity to itself, east Asia and the world, awaits us,” he said in the televised speech.

What has the North Korea reaction been?

In a statement, the North questioned the meaning of dialogue “when the joint military exercises against us in South Korea are in full swing”.

“What is clear is that all of this has a purpose to destroy us,” a spokesman said of the military drills, which started last week.

North Korea has expressed anger over the US-South Korean military drills, stating that they violate agreements reached with US President Donald Trump and Mr Jae-in.

It has previously described them as a “rehearsal for war”.

In a recent letter to Mr Trump, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is said to have complained “about the ridiculous and expensive” military exercises.

The deadlock in denuclearisation talks is entirely the fault of South Korea’s decision to hold the drills, the North’s reunification spokesman said.

“We have no more words to talk with South Korean officials,” the official said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.