Kim Jong Un Rejects Talks With South Korea

No reason given why Pyongyang rebuffed parliament's request
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2015 8:45 AM CST
Kim Jong Un Rejects Talks With South Korea
In this April 9, 2014, file photo made from video, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un holds up a parliament membership certificate during the Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video, File)

"Depending on the mood and circumstances to be created, we have no reason not to hold the highest-level talks [with South Korea]" was one of the most unexpected statements that came out of Kim Jong Un's New Year's speech from Pyongyang in which he said he'd be open to a summit with his southern counterparts. But that amenable mood to conversing has apparently changed, as the North Korean leader today dismissed a request from South Korea's parliament to resume negotiations on hot-button issues such as human rights and families still separated by the Korean War, Reuters reports. An official from the South's Ministry of Unification says that the North gave no reason for turning down the request.

Part of the North's sudden (but not terribly surprising) about-face may be that it's still peeved at South Korea's major ally, the US, for sanctions after the Sony hack, Reuters notes. South Korea's not exactly thrilled with its neighbor lately, either—and that distaste has recently been stirred up by a Korean-American woman (whom the South is now trying to deport) who talked up the great taste of North Korean beer and the country's clean rivers, reports AP. A third, more remote possibility why the Supreme Leader can't find the time to meet: birthday eyebrow wax? (Adding fuel to the fire: South Korea says its northern foe has a 6,000-member cyberarmy.)

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