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N. Korea calls off meetings with S. Korean civic groups in Shenyang Updated: 2019-05-23 16:19:26 KST

Relay meetings that were to take place between South and North Korean civic groups in the Chinese city of Shenyang this week have been cancelled.
The North unilaterally notified the South Korean groups.

Three South Korean civic groups the Committee for Implementation of the June 15th Joint Declaration, the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, and the Movement for One Korea were to meet with their counterparts for one or two days each from Thursday until Sunday.
They were to discuss holding a joint event to celebrate the anniversary of the June 15th summit the first-ever inter-Korean summit held back in 2000 as well as inter-Korean civic exchanges.

But, according to the civic groups, the North Korean groups sent a document by fax on Thursday, saying they're cancelling the meetings and pulling the people out of Shenyang.
South Korean civic group members had already arrived in the city and were heading to the meeting place.

The North cited (quote)"situational changes" as a reason.
It was the North that first requested holding the meetings and what the North means by "situational changes" is not clear.

But watchers say the U.S. seizure of a North Korean ship, Wise Honest, could be the factor.
The North has expressed strong dissatisfaction over the seizure, calling the act "unlawful and outrageous" and telling the U.S. to think about the consequences it would bring.
The meeting in Shenyang this week was to be the first direct encounter between the two Koreas amid a lull in inter-Korean diplomacy after the Hanoi summit.
But the meeting is no more as the North abruptly called it off.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.
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