North Korea calls for “unconditional” talks

Offer flatly dismissed by Seoul

South Korea has batted down an unusual offer by North Korea to engage in “unconditional and early” talks, in order to ease the escalating military stand-off on the peninsula. In a statement made via the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea said it is “ready to meet anyone anytime and anywhere, letting bygones be bygones, if he or she is willing to go hands in hands with us.” Seoul dismissed the offer as an insincere gesture, saying it would only negotiate if Pyongyang issues an apology for killing four South Koreans in the shelling Yeonpyeong Island, and for sinking the Cheonan warship, during which 46 South Korean sailors died. However, both sides have eased their war-like rhetoric and indicated that peace talks are a definite option. U.S. envoy Stephen Bosworth is meeting with Chinese officials on Thursday to see how China might pressure North Korea to calm its tendency towards military brinksmanship.

Associated Press

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.