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S. Korea's rival ideological camps condemn N. Korea's belligerence
SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's rival ideological camps are unequivocal in condemning North Korea's recent deadly attacks on a southern island and calling for stern countermeasures against further provocations by the communist state, a presidential panel said in a report Friday.

   In the report submitted to President Lee Myung-bak, the Presidential Committee on Social Cohesion said the nation's conservative and liberal camps have reached a 60-point agreement on security issues after sharing the need to not tolerate "social division" in the face of the North's growing belligerence.

  
President Lee Myung-bak (third from L) presides over a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Social Cohesion to discuss social unity issues at Cheong Wa Dae on Dec. 3. (Yonhap)


In the agreement, the rival camps urged the Lee government to sternly deal with North Korea's Nov. 23 artillery attacks on the western border island of Yeonpyeong, which killed four people, including two civilians, the report said.

   They also jointly condemned the North's alleged torpedoing of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March this year, which claimed the lives of 46 sailors, while simultaneously asking the Seoul government not to repeat its "awkward" response to the warship disaster in the future, the report added.

   The agreement on the Cheonan was meaningful, as the liberal camp has refused to respect the conclusion of an international investigation that found the North responsible for the sinking of the southern warship.

   Delivering a televised address to the nation on Monday, President Lee appealed to the South Korean people for unity, saying a "unified people" would take national security to its strongest level. "Unity is the best national security measure," the president said.

   The agreement also included calls to respect the South Korea-U.S. alliance, terminate North Korea's nuclear weapons program and improve human rights conditions in the North.

   The rival camps agreed on the need to devise a "third North Korea policy," which can comprehensively contain both peace and security frames, committee officials said, without elaborating on details of the new policy.

   ycm@yna.co.kr
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