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2008/06/05 10:07 KST


Pyongyang Slams President Lee's Pragmatism, Seoul's North Korea Policy

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea harshly criticized South Korea's major policies, particularly its North Korea policies based on pragmatism and reciprocity, on the the occasion of the 100th day of South Korea's new administration. Since early April, North Korea has stepped up its harsh rhetoric against President Lee Myung-bak and his government, calling Lee a "traitor" with a "sycophantic" view toward the United States.

   Pyongyang's criticisms were issued through its main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the ruling Workers' Party, and followed up by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Fatherland, the North's state organization handling South Korean affairs.

   In the May 30 Rodong Sinmun article, North Korea claimed 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 North has virtually stopped all dialogue with the South since President Lee took office in February.

   "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 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 ended a decade of liberal rule by winning the presidential election last December 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 -- in return for Seoul's humanitarian aid. North Korea insists it is not holding any South Korean citizens against their will.

   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.

   Rodong Sinmun insisted that Lee's "pragmatism" has resulted in nothing but increasing South Korea's colonial dependence, aggravating economic bankruptcy, impoverishing people and "bedeviling" inter-Korean relations. "Lee's loudmouthed pragmatism is nothing but a treacherous rash act, as it negates ideas common to the nation and incites confrontation with fellow countrymen, ignoring the fundamental characteristics and reality of inter-Korean relations," it said.

   The North denounced Seoul's new policy toward North Korea, dubbed "denuclearization, opening and 3,000 dollars," meaning that the South will help North Korea attain per capita income of US$3,000 if it denuclearizes and adopts an opening policy. "'No nukes, opening and 3,000 dollars' peddled by traitor Lee Myung-bak as a 'policy toward the North' suffices to prove that he is desperately pursuing confrontation between the North and South in ideology and system, while calling for someone's 'change' and blaming the 'human rights issue,'" the paper said.

   "'National interests' and 'reciprocity,' oft-repeated by the Lee group, are quite contrary to the principle governing inter-Korean relations and the purpose of inter-Korean cooperation, reflecting the unanimous will of the nation," it said.

   Denouncing the new government's priority on South Korea-U.S. relations, the newspaper said that Lee seeks to make inter-Korean relations subject to relations with the U.S. in a bid to sell off the national interest to foreign forces.

   Two days later, on June 1, the North's National Reunification Institute made public a white paper disclosing what it termed "the crimes committed by traitor Lee Myung-bak for the past 100 days."
The institute under the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland claimed the past 100 days have been characterized by disgrace and crimes, reducing South Korea to a complete colony of the U.S., bringing North-South relations to collapse, and making "dark clouds of confrontation and war hang over the Korean nation," the white paper noted.

   The paper also said that the Lee group made desperate efforts to delay the transfer of the South's right to command wartime operations, and also disclosed the intention to take an active part in the U.S.-led PSI and the Missile Defense System.

   "No sooner had the traitor come to power than he staged large-scale Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises, and he is now contemplating hurling the puppet forces' warships to the U.S.-led RIMPAC exercises for aggression slated to be staged in June," it claimed.

   The paper also criticized the alliance among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan, calling it a "triangular military alliance" for aggression. Touching on the economic field, the white paper said, "Soon after coming into power, he became busy with moves to conclude the South Korea-U.S. FTA, and totally opened South Korea's market to American beef fraught with the danger of mad cow disease." It also accused Seoul's intensifying English education, claiming that Lee has worked hard to Americanize South Korea's culture.