N. Korea says dialogue with S. Korea out of question

May 9, 2009 09:28


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North Korea said Saturday that it would not even consider talking with South Korea, lashing out at Seoul for criticizing the isolated country's human rights record. South Korea had been planning to propose a meeting on the two countries' troubled joint industrial complex, but the statement put any such talks in doubt. Relations between the sides have significantly deteriorated since Seoul's conservative President Lee Myung-bak took office in February last year. Since then, reconciliation talks were cut and all key joint projects - except the factory park in Kaesong just north of the border - were suspended. In late March, the North detained a worker at the factory for allegedly denouncing the communist country's political system - a further strain on ties. A glimmer of hope appeared last month when the rivals held their first government-level meeting since Lee took office. But the talks, which lasted less than 30 minutes, produced little progress and the North refused to free the worker.

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