South Korea proposes to hold talks with North Korea

South Korea proposed resuming high-level talks with North Korea around April 20 in a message sent to Pyongyang last week, but has yet to receive a response, the Unification Ministry said Thursday.

The Cabinet-level talks were originally scheduled to start this week in the North Korean capital, but the communist nation delayed them in protest of weeklong military exercises involving South Korea and the United States that end Friday.

North Korea usually reacts angrily to the drills, which Pyongyang says are a rehearsal for an invasion of the communist country. South Korea and the United States dismiss the North's assertion, saying they are defensive exercises.

Vice Unification Minister Shin Un-sang told a briefing that Seoul sent a message to North Korea last week proposing that talks resume around April 20, but there has been no response so far. The North had suggested talks resume on an unspecified April date when it postponed the meeting.

The two divided Koreas have held 17 rounds of the Cabinet-level talks, the highest-level regular dialogue channel between the two Koreas, since the first-ever inter-Korean summit in 2000.

The bilateral relations warmed significantly after the summit, but tensions persist over North Korea's nuclear ambitions. The two sides are still technically in a state of conflict because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, reports the AP.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team