South Korea proposed on Monday to resume stalled talks with North Korea, an overture that comes amid heightened diplomatic tension after Seoul’s key ally the United States blamed the North for a cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. North Korea has denied responsibility for the hack against the U.S.-based film studio arm of Japan’s Sony Corp, which distributed a comedy film featuring an assassination plot against the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
Pyongyang subsequently blamed Washington for its own internet outages, and has denied any involvement in recent system breaches into South Korea’s state nuclear power operator. Seoul’s unification minister said the South had sent a letter to Pyongyang seeking negotiations, which it hopes to hold in January and would cover issues including reunions for families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean war and possible co-operation projects.
The North had accepted the letter but had yet to respond, South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told a news briefing. “I don’t think we will have any particular agenda, but our position is to discuss everything that South and North have mutual interests in,” said Ryoo, noting that 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Korea’s independence from Japan.