Pyongyang now proposes inter-Korean dialogue of legislators

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Pyongyang now proposes inter-Korean dialogue of legislators

Not only does North Korea want military talks between the two Koreas, but it wants dialogue between its legislators as well, as it made another gesture for talks yesterday. Seoul has called this latest request “conventional.”

“We request contact and negotiations between our Supreme People’s Assembly and the South Korean National Assembly to overcome this rigid state between the North and South and to figure out a way for our people to go forward,” said a statement sent from the North’s Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, cited by North Korea’s official news agency.

The group went on to say that the responsibilities of legislators in the North and South are “too great” and appealed for South Korean lawmakers to engage in bilateral and multilateral negotiations to “fulfill their mission and duty.”

It continued to urge South Korea to partake in the requests for talks already made “without needless misgivings and prejudice” and to “push out the invading American soldiers, who are the root of war, and kindle the fire of battle to end the control and interference of the United States.”

Seoul brushed aside yesterday’s request, with the Ministry of Unification calling it an “offensive against South Korea.”

The South Korean government has been keeping up a hard-lined stance against North Korea’s continued requests for talks since the beginning of this year.

“North Korea has said one-sidedly that our government is blocking talks between the South and North as well as contact by civilians,” said Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung in Seoul yesterday.

“Our government believes that it is of no help to the development of inter-Korea relations if North Korea decides to repeat its assertions, including demands that U.S. troops leave the Korean Peninsula, and anti-American sentiments, without acknowledging its responsibility for the great sacrifice our citizens have been forced to make with the sinking of the Cheonan and the attack on Yeonpyeong Island.

“Moreover, South and North Korea are currently in the process of negotiations to hold working talks for high-level military talks as well as talks between the two governments to confirm the North’s willingness to denuclearize.

North Korea’s continuing offensive against South Korea under these circumstances cannot be seen as sincere behavior,” Chun said.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense this week requested working talks to be held on Feb. 11. North Korea has not yet given an official answer to the request for working talks ahead of the high-level military talks North Korea asked for earlier this month.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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