North Korea turned down on Thursday a proposal from South Korea for the Red Cross organizations in each country to hold talks on further reunions of families separated by the division of the peninsula.
The rejection came as South Korea announced plans to cut the size of its military and alleged that a recent missile launch by the North Korea endangered a Chinese airliner.
Pyongyang told Seoul that the atmosphere was not appropriate for family reunion talks, the Unification Ministry in Seoul said, quoting a statement from the Red Cross in North Korea.
It said that humanitarian issues such as regular family reunions could not be solved at the level of the Red Cross given the current state of relations.
It was not immediately clear whether high-ranking government representatives would discuss the subject.
South Korea proposed the talks on Wednesday.
Members of around 160 families were reunited with relatives from across the border from February 20-25 in North Korea. They were the first reunions of divided families since 2010. The reunions were seen as an important sign of improved relations after tensions over North Korea’s third nuclear test in early 2013.
Seoul has accused Pyongyang of provocations following test launches of short-range rockets in recent days.
The rocket launches were widely seen as a sign of the North’s displeasure at joint manoeuvres by US and South Korean forces.
South Korea on Thursday accused the North of endangering a Chinese airliner when it fired a rocket on Tuesday.