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Ahn Young-joon/AP
Tourists pose in front of North Korea's
Diamond Mountain.

North Korea Rejects Talks amid Shooting Incident

July 14, 2008 06:00 AM
by Soojung Chang
The communist regime turned down a proposal to continue stalled talks, while the South sharply criticized the North for its role in the shooting death of a tourist.

30-Second Summary

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The failure to resume talks further strained relations between the two countries, after an incident Friday during which a North Korean soldier shot and killed a South Korean tourist at a popular mountain resort in the North.

South Korea is demanding that it be allowed to send investigators to look into the case, but the North has refused, and says that the South should apologize for halting tours to the area.

“If an investigation into this tragic incident is not made, that will throw a cold blanket over all the people’s expectations for progress in South-North relations,” South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a statement about the shooting.

But North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun commented that the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s proposal to continue talks is “deceitful” and a strategy to dodge responsibility for strained relations between the North and South, according to CNN.

In signs of progress with the North, however, a deal was made Saturday during international talks in China that may be a step toward the end of Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The country agreed to dismantle its nuclear reactor by October and to grant foreign inspections of its facilities, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Earlier this summer, the United States planned to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism after Pyongyang released a long-awaited report of its nuclear program. North Korea had previously missed a deadline to hand over its nuclear information by the end of 2007.

Headline Links: ‘Shooting Heightens Tensions’

Background: ‘North Korea to Come Off U.S. Terror List’

Key Players: Kim Jong Il, Lee Myung-bak

Reference: North Korea

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