North Korea proposes tension-ending talks with South KoreaBy DPA, IANS
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
SEOUL - North Korea has approached South Korea with a proposal to launch unconditional talks in a bid to resolve ongoing tensions between the two countries, the North’s state-run KCNA news agency reported Wednesday.
The offer, presented jointly by the North’s government, political parties and social organisations, comes more than six weeks after it launched an artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island that left four South Koreans dead.
“We courteously propose having wide-ranging dialogue and negotiations with the political parties and organisations of South Korea, including its authorities,” the North’s statement read.
“We call for an unconditional and early opening of talks between the authorities having real power and responsibility, in particular,” it added.
The proposal came days after North Korea said in a New Year message that it wants to reduce tensions with the South. It also, however, warned of a “nuclear holocaust” if there is another war on the peninsula.
South Korea President Lee Myung Bak, meanwhile, said Monday in his annual New Year speech that his country is willing to talk peace with its Stalinist neighbour. But he also tied any extended cooperation to concrete nuclear-disarmament steps by the North.