SEOUL, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- North Korea notified South Korea on Wednesday that it will not participate in high-level talks this week.
The North's National Defense Commission explained in a fax sent to the South's presidential office that Pyongyang could not participate in the Oct. 30 talks because of Seoul's refusal to stop activists in the South from dispatching anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.
"The South let the leaflets launch on a legal basis; it has no interest in creating the proper atmosphere, which is the prerequisite for improving relations and opening dialogue, and is headed in the direction of these talks being cancelled."
Pyongyang earlier warned Seoul on Sunday that it was reconsidering its participation in the high-level talks because of the leaflet campaign, which the North Korean government has termed "a de facto declaration of war."
"We express disappointment that it become difficult to open high-level talks on Oct. 30, as we proposed, due to North Korea's attitude," South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol said Wednesday in response to the North's fax.
On Oct. 4, both countries agreed to hold high-level talks in either late October or early November. Despite the recent cancellation, Lim expressed optimism the talks will ultimately be held, noting the agreement "still holds true."