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2008/05/30 17:13 KST
N. Korea slams Lee's 'pragmatism'

   SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea indicated Friday that the chilly relationship between the two Koreas will continue for a long time unless the conservative South Korean government drops its "practical" approach toward its communist neighbor.

   "The pragmatism pursued by the Lee Myung-bak group and the like can never thaw North-South relations, but will only bring insult and misfortune to the nation," the North's most influential state-run daily, the Rodong Shinmun, claimed in an article by an unnamed commentator. "The pragmatism can never be justified and is not acceptable to anyone," it stressed.

   The lengthy commentary provided a broad review of the conservative South Korean government's North Korea policies with only three days to go before its 100th day.

   The former corporate executive and mayor of Seoul secured a landslide victory in last year's presidential election with a pledge to take a firmer position on North Korea than his two predecessors, as well as cement the alliance with Washington. He also vowed to link inter-Korean relations to North Korea's nuclear disarmament, and said he expects reciprocation, such as the North's return of about 1,000 South Korean abductees for Seoul's humanitarian aid.

   North Korea insists it is not holding any South Korean citizens against their will.

   North Korea has stepped up its harsh rhetoric against Lee and his government since early April, calling Lee a "traitor" with a "sycophantic" view toward the U.S.

   In the commentary, the North claimed Lee ignored the reality and the special nature of inter-Korean relations when he took a "practical approach" toward the communist neighbor.

   "It's criminal violence to adjust pragmatism in dealing with North-South relations, taking them as part of foreign diplomacy," it stressed.