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Thursday, November 21, 2019, 22:20
DPRK says 'pointless' for Kim to attend ASEAN summit in ROK
By Reuters
Thursday, November 21, 2019, 22:20 By Reuters

SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) rejected an invitation for leader Kim Jong-un to attend a planned summit in the Republic of Korea (ROK) next week with Southeast Asian nations, saying it would be "pointless" due to strained ties, DPRK state media reported on Thursday.

Moon's office said it was "very regretful" Kim would miss the event, and the invitation was meant to rally international support for the two leaders' joint efforts to foster peace

ROK President Moon Jae-in sent a letter of invitation to Kim on Nov 5, with an offer for an envoy to attend if he was unable to participate in the event, the official KCNA news agency said.

Moon has said Kim might join when he hosts leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in ROK's port city of Busan next week to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their partnership.

ALSO READ: Kim 'supervises air drills' while US, ROK postpone drills

Moon's office said it was "very regretful" Kim would miss the event, and the invitation was meant to rally international support for the two leaders' joint efforts to foster peace.

While thanking Seoul for the invitation, DPRK requested ROK's "understanding that we could not find any legitimate reason" for Kim to participate, the KCNA said.

A statement carried by the KCNA accused ROK of failing to implement agreements from past summits between Kim and Moon by depending on the United States.

“If (ROK officials) think they can easily turn around the present serious situation with just a piece of letter, they would be seriously mistaken,” the statement reads.

ALSO READ: ROK: US 'very actively' asking DPRK to return to talks

The KCNA said: "As nothing was achieved in implementing the agreements ... the north-south summit for the mere form's sake would be pointless."

"Not content with sustaining losses from dependence on the United States, the south side made an offer for discussing the north-south relations in the theatre of multilateral cooperation. This makes us only dubious."

The DPRK is also referred to as North Korea, and ROK as South Korea.

The two Koreas undertook a flurry of diplomacy including three summits last year, during which Moon and Kim agreed to improve ties and restart stalled business initiatives.

But there has been no significant progress amid tightening sanctions aimed at DPRK's nuclear and missile programs, and stalled denuclearization talks after Kim's failed second summit with US President Donald Trump.

Pyongyang has stepped up criticism against Seoul and Washington in recent months for their joint military drills and ROK's purchase of US weapons designed to fend off DPRK threats.

"North Korea now considers summits without payment for cooperation as empty diplomacy that merely helps Moon and Trump raise domestic political support," said Leif-Eric Easley, who teaches international studies at Ewha Woman's University in Seoul.

With AP inputs

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