South offers to mediate

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:South Korea said yesterday that it intended to mediate talks after North Korea threatened to pull out of a summit with the United States aimed at the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, reported Reuters. The announcement was made by Seoul’s National Security Council, according to AP.

On Wednesday, North Korea said it might not attend the June 12 summit in Singapore after a joint military exercise between the US and South Korea.

The National Security Council, chaired by security adviser Chung Eui-yong, said South Korea will “closely mediate using multiple communication channels with the US and North Korea so that the summit can proceed successfully”. The security council also urged North Korea to abide by the agreements reached between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their summit last month, where they agreed to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told the parliament that North Korea and the US had differences of opinion over how to achieve denuclearisation.

An unidentified South Korean presidential official told Reuters that the South intends to more actively perform “the role of a mediator” between the US and North Korea. Japanese newspaper Asahi quoting unidentified sources said the US was insisting that North Korea start dismantling its weapons of mass destruction and move them out of the country within six months.

North Korea’s chief negotiator called the South Korean government “ignorant and incompetent” yesterday, denounced US-South Korean air combat drills and threatened to halt all talks with the South unless its demands are met.

The comments by Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the country, were the latest in a string of inflammatory statements marking a drastic change in tone after months of easing tension with plans for denuclearisation and a summit scheduled with the United States.

Ri criticised the South for participating in the drills, as well as for allowing “human scum” to speak at its National Assembly, the North’s KCNA news agency said in a statement.

“Unless the serious situation which led to the suspension of the north-south high-level talks is settled, it will never be easy to sit face to face again with the present regime of south Korea,” the statement said.

US President Donald Trump said that the US hasn’t been notified about North Korea’s threat to cancel the summit. “We haven’t heard anything. We will see what happens,” he said, according to AP.

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