North Korea rejects ‘foolish’ calls for peace talks

Statement from Pyongyang comes after South Korea reported two more short-range missiles were tested by North Korea.

North Korea
South Korea said the projectiles were fired from near the North Korean province of Kangwon [Lee Jin-man/AP]

North Korea has fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles into the sea and launched a scathing attack on “foolish” calls for dialogue from South Korean President Moon Jae-in, rejecting further peace talks with Seoul.

Friday’s launches came shortly after Pyongyang’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country released a statement saying it rejected further peace talks despite calls from South Korea for unification in the next three decades.

A statement released by North Korea blamed the South for the deadlock of the “historic Panmunjom declaration”, adding: “We have nothing to talk any more with the South Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again.”

According to the South Korean military, the three projectiles were fired from near the city of Tongchon of Kangwon province into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.

Trump meets North Korea’s Kim at DMZ in landmark visit

“The military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches while maintaining a readiness posture,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

It was the sixth round of launches since last month, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un labelling them a “solemn warning” over US-South Korean joint military drills that began earlier this month.

North Korea has always been infuriated by the war games, decrying them as rehearsals for an attack.

The drills, combined with comments by President Moon outlining a goal of “achieving peace and unification by 2045”, led to North Korea rejecting further peace talks with the South.

In a speech marking the anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 rule, Moon outlined a goal of “achieving peace and unification by 2045”, although his single five-year presidential term ends in 2022.

North Korea’s recent tests have dampened the optimism that followed the third and latest meeting between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader on June 30 at the Korean defacto border.

The leaders agreed to resume working-level nuclear talks, but there have been no known meetings between the two sides since then.

So far, North Korea has stuck by its unilateral suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests, which came during its diplomatic outreach to Washington last year.

UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from launching ballistic missiles, whether short-, medium- or long-range.

Source: News Agencies