S Korea rejects N Korea's request for talks

AFP, Monday 10 Jan 2011

Following three separate calls for talks with S Korea by N Korean officials, Seoul announced Monday its rejection of Pyongyang's proposals

South Korea will reject North Korea's official proposal for talks, a unification ministry spokeswoman said Monday shortly after the communist state announced its offer.

"Our side will not accept the North's proposals," spokeswoman Lee Jong-Joo told AFP. "It's not time to hold such talks as proposed by North Korea."

Three North Korean state bodies separately sent notices to the ministry calling for talks and announcing the reopening of a Red Cross border liaison office, the Pyongyang's official news agency said earlier.

They proposed holding a working contact for talks in the North's border city of Kaesong on 27 January, and suggested talks between Red Cross organisations from the two sides in the South's city of Munsan on 1 February.

The Red Cross liaison channel at the border truce village of Panmunjom would be reopened from 12 January, the agency announced.

The proposal came less than two months after the North shelled a South Korean border island and killed four people including civilians.

The North also raised security fears in November by disclosing a uranium enrichment plant to visiting US experts.

"First of all, Pyongyang must show sincerity about its nuclear programme and take responsible steps over its provocations," Lee said.

"That's why our side is proposing government-to-government dialogue to confirm their will."

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