North Korea blames South for tensions in rare news conference
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 01:50
Jan. 29 - North Korea's ambassador to China warns South Korea and the U.S. against planned joint military exercises but Washington and Seoul ignore the protests. Sarah Toms reports.
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In a rare news conference in Beijing, North Korea called for a stop to the annual U.S.-South Korea military drills in February.
Pyongyang's Ambassador to China said North Korea wanted to reduce tensions to allow reconciliation between the North and the South.
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR TO CHINA JI JAE RYONG SAYING:
"This time, we once again suggest that South Korea stop immediately without questions, all hostile military actions with foreign powers which opposes people of their same nationality. Facing this, I pointed out that South Korea should make up their political mind to stop so-called defensive annual joint-military exercises such as the Key Resolve and Foal Eagles (drills) starting from the end of February."
But Ji Jae Ryong reiterated that Pyongyang had no intention of abandoning its nuclear weapons programme and he made no mention of the pledge to hold family reunions ahead of the drills.
Glyn Davies, the U.S. envoy on North Korea policy met his South Korean counterpart in Seoul and both men rebuffed Pyongyang's call.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR NORTH KOREA POLICY GLYN DAVIES SAYING:
"That's what we are looking for is change to come from North Korea, so far North Korea has been a no-show on the nuclear issue."
Tensions soared last year as Pyongyang reacted angrily to tightened U.N. sanctions imposed after North Korea's nuclear test.
The two Koreas remain technically at war, as their conflict ended in a truce and not a peace treaty in 1953. The war left millions of families divided, with private travel across the border and communication banned.
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