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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK
N Korea urged to resume talks
North Koreans work in a field adjacent to a line of tile-roofed houses in the suburbs of Pyongyang, 26 April 2002.
South Korea gives food aid to the impoverished North
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By Caroline Gluck
BBC Seoul correspondent
There have been fresh calls for North Korea to return to talks, after it abruptly cancelled economic co-operation discussions with the South, which had been due to start on Tuesday.

South Korean presidential envoy Lim Dong-won
There are now calls for talks broker Lim Dong-won to resign
The North cancelled the talks in protest at "reckless remarks" made by the South's Foreign Minister, Choi Sung-hong.

Mr Choi had suggested that by "carrying a big stick" the United States had helped push North Korea back into talks with the South.

Inter-Korean exchanges were resumed last month after five months of deadlock.

Under fire

South Korea on Tuesday called for the North to quickly resume dialogue.

The presidential spokeswoman said the talks were important for maintaining stability on the peninsula and were essential for the economy and the World Cup, which opens in Seoul at the end of the month.

The North has angrily rejected claims by the South that one of its dams near the inter-Korean border was about to collapse and flood the South - an issue that Seoul had planned to raise during the four-day meeting.

The United States has also urged the North to resume talks. So, too, have a group of German parliamentarians who have just returned from a visit to the North - the first of its kind since the two countries normalised diplomatic ties earlier this year.

Aid questioned

The head of the parliamentary delegation, Hartmut Koschyk, told a news conference that the way the North had called off the talks was inappropriate, saying the North should not make agreements that it could not carry out.

South Korea's main opposition party, the Grand National Party, has called on the government to rethink its policy towards the North and to re-evaluate food aid towards the Communist state.

It has also demanded the dismissal of senior presidential aide, Lim Dong-won, who returned from Pyongyang last month with a series of agreements to restart stalled inter-Korean exchanges.

See also:

06 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
Korean talks dropped over 'insult'
09 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Allies welcome N Korea accord
05 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Korean exchange prompts talk of progress
30 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
North Korea moves to mend ties
30 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
N Korea agrees to Japanese search
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