About the Author
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korean state-run media on Friday criticized the South Korean government for not swiftly pushing ahead with inter-Korean cooperation projects and its citing of “objective conditions” such as international sanctions and cost.
Online outlet the Uriminzokkiri – widely seen as outer-track media not for domestic consumption – called on the Moon administration to speed up agreements between Seoul and Pyongyang, including on inter-Korean railway and road cooperation.
In an editorial, the outlet accused Seoul of making comments contrary to the nation’s expectations to “bring forward independent reunification.”
“Within South Korea, inappropriate comments were made without hesitation saying it ‘can’t speed up’ [cooperation] citing ‘sanctions on North Korea’ and the ‘issue of cost’,” Uriminzokkiri said, accusing Seoul of “being shackled to the past and walking on eggshells to please others.”
“This is an extremely irresponsible attitude toward important matters of the nation, reconciliation, peace, and prosperity.”
The DPRK state-run media reiterated Pyongyang’s determination to implement April’s Panmunjom Declaration and urged the Moon administration to follow suit.
“This is not the time to consider others under the pretext of given objective conditions. As we repeatedly emphasize North-South cooperation projects belong to our nation,” Uriminzokkiri argued.
“It is sufficient that the owners [of the country] agree to cooperate to shape our calm and happy life. It there any need to walk on eggshells and follow the coercion of others?”
Seoul and Pyongyang held working-level talks on road and railway cooperation in June.
Those talks saw the two sides agree to establish a joint research team and conduct an on-site survey to achieve the connection, modernization, and utilization of railways and roads on the eastern and western coast.
Talks on railway cooperation were limited in their potential outcomes, however, by international sanctions against the DPRK: an issue Seoul acknowledged going into the meetings.
And while Seoul and Pyongyang previously agreed to conduct a joint on-site survey on the areas connecting the Gyeongui and Donghae line on the western and eastern coast by mid-July, the South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) is yet to provide details of any follow-up measures.
Wednesday saw a unification ministry spokesperson say Seoul would make an announcement “when necessary,” adding the two Koreas have continued to discuss forestry and railway cooperation through the Panmunjom communications channel.
Over the past week, Uriminzokkiri and DPRK-run online outlet Arirang-Meari have stepped up calls on the Moon administration to push ahead with the agreements laid out in the Panmunjom Declaration.
Thursday also saw Uriminzokkiri urge the South Korean government to “show a sincere attitude and put earnest efforts to remove barriers which run counter to the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration.”
“Objective conditions can never exist when carrying out the Panmunjom Declaration. Only drastic and active actions are needed,” Uriminzokkiri and Arirang-Meari respectively said on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), on Thursday said that the role of the South Korean government is “more significant than anything else.”
“The North and South should proactively establish favorable condition and environment for the fulfillment of the declaration while holding hands,” the newspaper said.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Joint Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps