North Korea on Wednesday surprisingly declared the cancellation of test runs of trains across the border with South Korea.
Pak Jong-song, the head of the north side's group working on the re-connection of rail and road, sent a message to his South Korean counterpart, Hong Kwang-phyo, saying, "It is impossible to conduct the trial operation of a north-south train on May 25 as scheduled."
The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) broadcast the message, which said North Korea canceled the operation due to a failure of both sides' military authorities to guarantee the train's safe passage.
The test runs of railroads would have been the first time trains crossed the inter-Korean border since the Korean War broke out in June 1951.
North Korea rebuked South Korea for "creating a very unstable situation unfavorable for holding such a national event." North Korea also criticized "pro-US ultra-right conservative forces" in the South Korea for "burning the flag of the dignified North Korea" and "pushing the situation in Korea to an extreme phase of confrontation."
The message did not rule out the possibility of resuming talks over test runs. "We will wait for an appropriate time to come for the trial train operation," it said.
During the working-level contact between the two sides at Mt. Kumgang resort last week, they confirmed former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung's visit to North Korea next month.
Kim hopes to go to North Korea by train which was previously scheduled to be tested on Thursday.
(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2006)