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SEOUL, June 11 (RIA Novosti) – The first high-level talks between North and South Korea in six years have been canceled after a disagreement over the diplomatic rank of a chief delegate, the Yonhap news agency reported.
North Korea called off the talks, scheduled to be held in Seoul on Wednesday, saying the South’s choice for its chief delegate for the talks, the deputy unification minister, was “mockery.”
The two Koreas exchanged the lists of their five-member delegates around 7 p.m. local time, but Pyongyang later called off the meeting saying the level of chief South Korean negotiator was low, calling it a “provocation.”
The talks were to focus on restarting operations at the jointly run Industrial Complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, which employs 900 South Korean and 53,000 North Korean workers.
Operations at the facility halted in April when North Korea withdrew all its workers as tension in the region escalated sharply, following additional UN sanctions imposed on North Korea after it carried out its third nuclear test in seven years in February.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).