South Korea allowing humanitarian assistance and civilian exchanges will not be enough to improve inter-Korean relations, North Korean propaganda outlet Uriminzokkiri said in a commentary on Wednesday.
The statement came two days after Pyongyang refused to allow a visit by a South Korean non-governmental organization (NGO) to discuss a stalled joint project on malaria prevention.
But the North Korean commentary, under the byline Choe Eun Kyung, blamed the “the puppet conservative parties’ confrontation policy” for bringing inter-Korean relations to a “catastrophic state.”
“The North and South relations won’t be improved by allowing ‘humanitarian assistance’ or the civilian exchanges which the puppet conservative parties cut off,” the article said.
“It can be improved only when [the South Korean government] withdraws all the confrontational measures against the DPRK and has a firm stance to resolve the North and South relationship fundamentally.”
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification (MOU) has urged the North to reconsider its refusal to allow the malaria prevention NGO the Korean Sharing Movement (KSM) into the country.
“The government’s stance in improving inter-Korean relations such as promoting civilian exchanges and providing support for humanitarian aid remains unchanged,” Lee Duk-haeng, a spokesman for the MOU, told media during a regular press briefing on Wednesday.
“We call for the North to [positively] respond to our civic groups’ movement to visit North Korea.”
Amid multiple missile tests by Pyongyang in recent weeks, Seoul has stuck to its position that it will “flexibly consider” inter-Korean cooperation and exchanges.
Lee added that the “continued severance” in inter-Korean relations is “undesirable” and that the government will seek to “resolve the North Korean provocation issues reasonably.”
Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), argued in an editorial on Tuesday that the resumption of the cooperation and exchanges among civic organizations was “necessary.”
The daily newspaper said the “source of the catastrophe” in inter-Korean relations should be “unraveled first” and urged the withdrawal of “all the anti-DPRK confrontational measures.”
“The North and South relationship are not improved by itself as the regime has been changed in South Korea. But the problem is not who seizes power but whether they have a will to respect and to implement the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration and October 4 Declaration.”
South Korea’s MOU also said today there are around active 239 agreements between Seoul and Pyongyang, but dismissed the possibility of resuming economic exchanges anytime soon.
“But I don’t think it’s time to consider the economic exchanges mentioned in the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration and October 4 Declaration,” Lee said. “We will review it according to the improvement of the inter-Korean relations such as the resolution of the North Korean nuclear program.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: South Korean government
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