Pyongyang on Tuesday urged the South Korean government to “apologize” for a recent anti-North Korean rally in Seoul, threatening to renege on inter-Korean agreements concerning its participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Monday saw a rally in central Seoul by the far-right burn a photo of DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, the North’s national flag, and the Korean unification flag.
The protest was in opposition to the North’s participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and a two-day visit to the South by Hyon Song Wol, head of the DPRK’s Samjiyon Orchestra.
In response, North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC) released a statement Tuesday saying the South Korean government should not have permitted “such a grave political provocative rash behavior to happen.”
“The South Korean authorities must apologize to the entire nation over the political provocation, severely punish people involved in the crime, and come up with thorough measures to prevent the recurrence,” a CPRC spokesperson said in a Korean-language dispatch carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The organ said the events mean Pyongyang must “seriously consider” rethinking its participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics.
“The South Korean authorities and conservatives will assume full responsibility if the North-South agreements and schedules for the participation in Olympic Games are thwarted,” the statement read.
“We will never tolerate the atrocious and rash behavior of the conservative villains who blasphemed our sacred dignity and symbol and the misconduct of the South Korean authorities that connived in it.”
The CPRC said the Moon administration must “play a full role in preventing all acts that provoke” and that Pyongyang will not show its “goodwill and generosity while observing the imprudent and blind behavior.”
“We will keenly close tabs on the South Korean authorities’ stance… on the hideous crimes.”
Despite this, the organ said it considered North-South relations “valuable” and that it hoped the PyeongChang Olympics could “promote trust and reconciliation” between the two Koreas.
Right-wing demonstrators led by lawmaker Cho Won-jin burnt an effigy of Kim Jong Un at Seoul Station on Monday
The CPRC said burning the photo of Kim and the DPRK flag constituted “unpardonable brutalities against human beings and the heavens.”
“This is unbearable ridicule against our sincerity and efforts to improve the North-South relations,” the CPRC spokesperson said.
“This is heinous criminal behavior that can’t be tolerated eternally, as it is the deliberate political provocation to make the Olympics Games a battleground between the North and the South.”
The CPRC is a state-level agency – largely equivalent to South Korea’s Ministry of Unification (MOU) – and is headed by Ri Son Gwon, chief delegate to the high-level inter-Korean talks held on January 9.
Monday’s anti-DPRK rally was held amid a visit by a North Korean preliminary inspection team to the South.
The seven-member delegation led by Hyon Song Wol made a two-day trip to Seoul and Gangneung with the purpose of choosing facilities for two upcoming performances by a North Korean cultural troupe.
Hyon’s group reportedly passed close by the protest while heading from Seoul Station to possible performance venues.
Neither the South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) or the Korean Patriots Party were able to immediately provide comment when contacted by NK News.
The party, which controls one seat in the National Assembly and whose website expresses admiration for now-impeached President Park Geun-hye and her father, South Korea’s longtime military dictator Park Chung-hee, is set to issue the statement at 1640 KST.
Tuesday’s statement was not to first by the North objecting to South Korean criticism of Pyongyang’s participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics.
KCNA on Monday released a statement under the name of Ri Myong Su, a councilor of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea, criticizing the behavior of South Korean conservatives.
“They are, indeed, human scum obsessed with pro-U.S. sycophancy and confrontation with the fellow countrymen,” the statement read.
Cho Won-jin and his allies, the article claimed, had committed “unpardonable atrocities chanting ‘No participation of the north in the Olympics.’”
The statement also said Cho and “other madmen” had defamed “the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday asked the public to support the government’s efforts to continue dialogue with Pyongyang and support the North’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympics.
On Tuesday the Blue House further weighed in on domestic opposition to Seoul’s rapprochement with the North, asking South Koreans not to refer to the upcoming PyeongChang Games as the “Pyongyang Olympics.”
“The PyeongChang Olympics is Peace Olympics,” South Korean presidential spokesman Park Soo-Hyun said in a written statement. “So it is not understandable to label it ‘Pyongyang Olympics.'”
North Korea has, in turn, urged the Moon administration to control domestic public opinion since the first high-level inter-Korean talks on January 9.
Last week saw the Journalists Union of Korea call for Seoul to “hold tight control” of its local media, warning that negative reports “may mess up the great event of the nation” and jeopardize talks.
Inter-Korean dialogue, too, has seen North Korean officials clash with the South Korean press.
The CPRC’s Ri Son Gwon earlier in the month warned media that the talks would go well “unless the press misled” public opinion and accused South Korean media of making “absurd” reports.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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Featured Image: Pyongyang Haze by m•o•m•o on 2012-03-10 01:55:54