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N. Korea turns to S. Korea's political parties for talks

All Headlines 20:26 February 11, 2011

SEOUL, Feb. 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea made another proposal for the resumption of talks with South Korea Friday, this time to Seoul's political parties, apparently as its chance of winning concessions from the Seoul government has nearly disappeared.

The proposal came one day after the communist nation's military said it will no longer deal with the South Korean government, accusing the latter of lacking any willingness to improve relations between the countries.

"It has become clearer that the South Korean authorities are not interested in dialogue but keen on stoking confrontation only," the North's Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary moved shortly after military talks between the two Koreas ended with no progress Thursday.

"This made the DPRK just in its stand that there is no need to have dealings with the South anymore," it said, referring to North Korea by the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea, apparently still in need of economic and humanitarian assistance from the South, sought to find other ways to resume dialogue with Seoul, sending a two-page letter to each of South Korea's four ruling and opposition parties Friday to demand talks.

"Easing the tension between the North and South that has come to its worst and opening a new chapter of relationship for peace and unification are an unchanging demand of the nation," the North's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in its letter to Seoul's ruling Grand National Party, dated Feb. 2.

The North Korean committee had proposed holding talks with the Seoul government in a message delivered to Seoul's unification ministry on Jan. 31, but Seoul rejected the proposal, saying no meaningful dialogue can be held until Pyongyang shows its commitment to denuclearization.

Talks between the two Koreas were suspended after a South Korean warship sank in a torpedo attack by a North Korean submarine near a border in the Yellow Sea in March.

Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in the sinking of the warship Cheonan. Four other South Koreans, including two civilians, were killed on Nov. 23 from the North's shelling of a South Korean island, Yeonpyeong, near the maritime border in the Yellow Sea.

"We are hoping to talk frankly with anyone, whether a ruling or opposition party or a liberal or a conservative party, to improve the North-South relations, and that is the true goal of our proposal for talks," the North Korean committee said in its letters to Seoul's political parties, including the main opposition Democratic Party and the Democratic Labor Party.


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