SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea’s state media said on Saturday that expected talks with the South to try to improve ties between the rivals were in danger of being canceled because authorities in Seoul allowed a group to send leaflets hostile to Pyongyang.
North and South Korea exchanged gun shots on Friday. The North fired rifles and bullets landing in the South where an anti-North activist group sent leaflets tied to balloons that were critical of the regime in Pyongyang.
“The leaflet-scattering operation ... was a premeditated and deliberate politically-motivated provocation perpetrated under the backstage wire-pulling of the U.S. and the South Korean authorities,” the North’s KCNA news agency said.
North Korea’s state media routinely accuse the South Korean government of being a puppet of the United States.
“The inter-Korean relations have been pushed back to the phase of catastrophe and the projected second round of the inter-Korean high-level contact, in particular, has been put in the danger of abortion,” KCNA said.
North Korea agreed to resume the high-level dialogue with the South when three of its senior officials made a surprise visit to the South on Oct. 4, raising hopes for a breakthrough in tense ties between the two Koreas.
The talks were scheduled to start some time between late October and early November.
North Korea reacted severely in state media when South Korean private activist groups launched leaflets with messages critical of the regime of the North’s leader Kim Jong Un, but Friday was the first time that it took action.
(This October 11 story was corrected to fix date of North Korean delegation’s visit in sixth paragraph)
Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Stephen Powell