Pyongyang urges Seoul to be proactive in inter-Korean relations


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North Korea’s propaganda outlets Friday called on the South Korean government to play an active role in implementing measures to improve inter-Korean relations as the US continues to reiterate its stance of keeping sanctions in place.

The state-run online publication Meari denounced the South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for holding back from raising inter-Korean issues with the US by labeling itself as a mediator or a facilitator for Washington-Pyongyang dialogue.

As a “core party concerned,” Seoul should demand what it wants from the US, Meari said. “The South has not been taking any practical actions to improve inter-Korean relations fundamentally while trying to accommodate the whims of the US,” it said. 

(Cheongwadae-Blue House)

The commentary came after the ministry said that it would play a facilitator role in the denuclearization process and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula by strengthening cooperation with the US as it announced its plans for 2019.

North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui on March 15 played down Seoul’s stature, saying it is just a “player, not an arbiter.”

Following the inconclusive Hanoi summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the two countries appear to have hardened their positions while leaving the door open for future negotiations.

Pyongyang sought a step-by-step process for denuclearization, which stands in stark contrast to Washington’s big deal plan that includes a freeze on weapons of mass destruction and missile program.

Hoping for the nuclear talks to restart, the Moon Jae-in administration sent envoys to the US to evaluate the outcome of the Trump-Kim summit.

On the other hand, Seoul toned down its push for key inter-Korean economic projects — the resumption of Kumgangsan tourism and reopening of the Kaesong industrial park — stressing it will cooperate within the framework of the UN-led sanctions on Pyongyang.

Uriminzokkiri, another propaganda website, criticized the Unification Ministry’s plan to strengthen its engagement in cooperation and exchange with the North within the boundary of international restrictions.

“Being engrossed in earning its own reputation, Seoul abandoned its position and manner as a direct party that signed the North-South Korea agreement,” the website said. 

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)


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