South Korea insisted it would withhold food aid to the North until its communist neighbor starts dismantling its nuclear weapons program, forcing their high-level reconciliation talks to end Friday with no substantial agreement.
But the four days of Cabinet-level meetings in Seoul were salvaged from concluding in an outright breakdown, as the two sides managed at the last minute to issue a vaguely worded joint news release.
"Both sides agreed to further study issues aimed at promoting peace on the Korean peninsula as well as reconciliation and cooperation between the South and the North," it said.
South Korean media have voiced concern the no-aid decision could force the negotiations to end in bitter acrimony, yet again worsening the two Koreas' often-soured relations.
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