SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea rejected on Friday a South Korean call for the resumption of stalled talks, a setback for efforts to reduce tension on the peninsula after the North Korean leader made a surprise New Year call for a summit.
South Korea’s parliament called last month for a resumption of negotiations on various issues including North Korea’s human rights, and families still separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
But an official at South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said the North had rejected the proposal, without giving a reason.
South Korea has also proposed inter-Korean talks be held this month, but North Korea has not yet responded to that specific offer.
The rejection of the South Korean parliament’s call comes during a period of heightened tension between North Korea and the United States, which is South Korea’s main ally.
North Korea on Thursday warned the United States of a “war disaster” if it did not withdraw sanctions imposed by Washington following a crippling hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.
North Korea has denied it had any involvement in the hacking.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year’s address he was open to a summit with the South.
Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by James Pearson, Robert Birsel