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North Korea threatens to cancel reunions with Seoul

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 6, 2014 at 11:04 a.m.


A North Korean soldier looks at southern side through a pair of binoculars at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. North Korea threatened Thursday to cancel a reunion later this month of Korean War-divided families because of forthcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills, causing frustration in Seoul only one day after the rivals agreed on dates for the emotional meetings.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea threatened Thursday to cancel reunions of Korean War-divided families because of coming U.S.-South Korean military drills and accused the United States of raising tensions by flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers near the Korean Peninsula.

The apparent about-face a day after the rival Koreas agreed on dates for the emotional meetings fits a pattern analysts describe of North Korea agreeing to things South Korea covets and then pulling back until it gets what it wants — in this case a ratcheting down of military drills by Seoul and Washington that are seen as a huge drain on the impoverished North’s military.

The rival Koreas decided Wednesday to resume the family reunions, which haven’t been held since 2010, on Feb. 20-25. Before the agreement, many in Seoul were skeptical that North Korea would allow the reunions anytime soon because of its anger over the annual military drills scheduled later this month.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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