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North Korea Rejects South Korea's Calls For Talks

10:47 AM, Apr 14, 2013   |    comments
Courtesy: Getty Images
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SEOUL -- Reaction was muted Sunday in the South Korean capital after North Korea rebuffed the South's proposal to resolve rising tensions through dialogue, dismissing it as a "crafty trick" by the rival.

Tensions have been high on the Korean Peninsula for weeks, with Pyongyang threatening to attack Seoul and Washington for conducting joint military drills and for supporting U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea for a February nuclear test.

While the threats are largely seen as rhetoric, U.S. and South Korean officials have said they believe North Korea may test-fire a mid-range missile designed to reach the U.S. territory of Guam.

Residents enjoying a sunny Sunday at a flower festival in central Seoul and those worshipping at one of the city's many churches appeared unconcerned with the threats.

"I'm not surprised they don't want to talk, North Korea has done this kind of thing before," said Ellin Park, 26, a hotel receptionist.

"The world worries there will be a war between North Korea and South Korea, but here we are not worried," she said. "Kim Jung Un is afraid of his own people, so he wants to show off his strength."

At the Presbyterian Saemoonahn church, Pastor Lee Sou-Young made the 1,000 worshippers laugh Sunday morning by joking that some Koreans who failed to escape to America were rushing to Busan, Korea's southernmost city.

"I'm not so worried, as they are not serious, the threat is not real," said Lee, 66, after the service. "North Korea expects something, politically and diplomatically, from South Korea and the USA. It's their typical strategy. They are not able to carry out the war."

On Sunday, North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Pyongyang has no intention of talking with Seoul unless it abandons its confrontational posture.

South Korea' Unification Ministry called it a preliminary response, and said Sunday that Seoul would watch to see how things develop.

USA TODAY

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