North Korea blames South, cancels family reunions
September 21, 2013 -- Updated 0532 GMT (1332 HKT)
Relatives weep during a reunion of families divided by the Korean War, during this 2010 event.
- North Korea postpones reunions of family members divided by war
- North Korea blasts South Korea and conservatives
- Family reunions were to be held between Wednesday and September 30
(CNN) -- In a sudden turn of events, North Korea on Saturday postponed reunions that were to start next week for families separated during the Korean War.
A statement in North Korea's state news agency KCNA blamed South Korea and said the reunions could not be rescheduled until a "normal atmosphere" was restored for dialogue and negotiations.
North Korea claimed it had made sincere efforts to negotiate with its southern neighbor, but accused the South's conservatives of "reckless and vicious confrontations."
Kaesong reopens for business
Report: N. Korea may have started reactor
It also alluded to a recent South Korean scandal involving a leftist politician who is accused of plotting to overthrow the Seoul government in case of a war with the North, calling the recent case a "witch-hunting campaign."
The North Korean statement also resumed referring to South Korea as a "puppet regime."
The family reunions were to be held from Wednesday to September 30 in North Korea.
The North also announced that it would postpone talks of re-opening tours at Mount Kumgang for South Koreans. This was the location where a South Korean tourist was shot by a North Korean soldier in 2008 for allegedly walking into an off-limits area.
The cancellation of the family reunions comes less than a week after it appeared that tensions between the two Koreas were cooling.
On Monday, the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which is a joint park and a key symbol of cooperation between the Koreas, re-opened after a five-month hiatus. This had re-ignited hopes of better relations between the two nations.
The family reunions are highly anticipated events, as the last such reunion took place in 2010. The emotionally-charged reunions bring together hundreds of families divided by the Korean War, which occurred between 1950-1953.
The first such family reunion took place following a landmark summit between the two Koreas in 2000.
The meetings are bittersweet, full of tears and hugs from those who haven't seen each other in more than half a century. The chances of any of the divided family members meeting again are slim.
A report released this week in South Korea reported that nearly 44% of the 129,000 people who registered in a database to meet their separated relatives have died.
Part of complete coverage on
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
As diplomats discuss a string of unsolved kidnappings of Japanese citizens by North Korea, the families of those abducted anxiously wait and hope.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
North Korea says it plans to prosecute two American tourists that it detained earlier this year, accusing them of "perpetrating hostile acts."
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 2338 GMT (0738 HKT)
North Korea proposed that "all hostile military activities" with South Korea be halted, but it attached conditions that Seoul is likely to reject.
June 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
North Korean state news is reporting the country test-launched "cutting-edge ultra precision tactical guided missiles."
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
James Franco won't be following Dennis Rodman into North Korea anytime soon.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
Don't you hate it when the weatherman gets it wrong? Apparently, so does Kim Jong Un.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
New signs show Russia and North Korea are developing a closer relationship.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
Photographer Eric Lafforgue visited North Korea and shares his inside look at the most isolated country in the world.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 0125 GMT (0925 HKT)
Many North Koreans listen to illegal broadcasts on homemade radios, some are convinced to defect.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1926 GMT (0326 HKT)
Jang Jin-Sung, a North Korean defector and former regime insider, speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
iReporter Kenny Zhu visited North Korea in April and was able to take video footage and photos with his Google Glass during the trip.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1842 GMT (0242 HKT)
North Korea loves saber-rattling. Here's a look at all the firepower they have stockpiled.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT)
CNN's Elise Labott reports on the new baby pictures of Kim Jong Un released by North Korean state media.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0430 GMT (1230 HKT)
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
Today's five most popular stories