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N. Korea Denounces S. Korea's Attempt to Expel pro-N.K. Lawmakers

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has condemned South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party for seeking to strip two alleged pro-North Korean lawmakers of their parliamentary seats.

   "The madcap smear campaign ... is nothing but a 'witch hunt' of modern version and sordid fascist politically-motivated terrorism," the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in an English-language statement carried on May 31 by the country's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

   The strongly worded statement came as calls grow in South Korea to expel Lee Seok-gi and Kim Jae-yeon, two lawmakers of the left-wing minor opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP), from the National Assembly.

   The public pressure was caused by widespread concern the lawmakers' alleged pro-North Korea beliefs could pose a threat to national security, considering their track record.

   Both lawmakers were convicted of engaging in pro-North Korean activities in the past and allegedly espoused North Korea's guiding "juche" ideology of self-reliance.

   The two were also accused of being involved in UPP's alleged rigged primary designed to select proportional representation candidates for the April parliamentary election.

   Lee and Kim have so far refused to quit their seats, prompting the Saenuri Party to propose a joint motion with the main opposition Democratic United Party to strip them of their seats.

   The North's propaganda outlet also claimed the South Korean conservative party was resorting to intrigues to annihilate progressive forces and "create a situation favorable for the conservative forces' stay in power before the 'presidential election.'"

   Park Geun-hye, former interim leader of the Saenuri Party and daughter of late President Park Chung-hee, has been leading opinion polls for the December presidential election. President Lee Myung-bak of the ruling party is set to end his single five-year term in February 2013 and is barred by law from seeking re-election.

   "It is none other than such pro-U.S. lackeys, anti-reunification confrontation maniacs, fascists and chief culprits of scandals as the group of the 'Saenuri Party' that should be eliminated from" the National Assembly, the North's statement said.


Koreas to Hold Separate Anniversary Celebrations of 2000 Summit

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea will hold separate anniversary celebrations of their landmark summit in 2000, Pyongyang's state media reported on June 1, in the latest sign of lingering tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

   The leaders of the two Koreas produced a joint declaration at the summit in June 2000 that paved the way for the divided Koreas to ease military tensions and begin economic cooperation.

   The two sides have alternated hosting joint celebrations of the summit in the past but the joint anniversary events were suspended in recent years as tensions rose.

   In February, a South Korean private delegation met with a North Korean counterpart in China to discuss how to mark the anniversary, despite a government ban on such meetings.

   The committees handling the summit said they will "hold the event in the North and the South and abroad separately" as their delegates could not meet due to Seoul's "unreasonable disallowance of contact," according to the North's official KCNA.

   Seoul's Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said it is not appropriate for South Korean citizens to celebrate the summit anniversary with North Korea, citing inter-Korean differences on the summit declaration.


N. Korea Denounces Japan's Move to Deploy Destroyers near S. Korea

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's propaganda Web site on June 4 lashed out at Japan's move to deploy Aegis destroyers in international waters between South Korea and China.

   The Uriminzokkiri associated Japan's plan with what it claimed was South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's "toadyism" to the United States and Japan, accusing Lee of seeking to collude with Japan in military affairs.

   The criticism came days after Japan's Kyodo news agency reported Tokyo plans to deploy the destroyers to waters near the Yellow Sea to improve its ability to detect a North Korean rocket launch.

   Japan is sensitive to such launches as previous rockets from the North flew over Japanese territory.

   Seoul does not oppose Japan's deployment of Aegis destroyers to international waters in the Yellow Sea, South Korea's Munhwa Ilbo newspaper reported on June 4, citing an unidentified senior South Korean presidential official.

   Japan's move comes as South Korea seeks to conclude a military cooperation pact with Japan -- the first such military agreement between the neighboring countries since Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

   Seoul and Tokyo have been in the final stages of talks for two agreements on logistics and sharing military intelligence. Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin had planned to visit Japan to sign the intelligence-sharing deal last month but the visit was postponed at the last minute.

   South Korea and Japan want to share intelligence on missile and nuclear threats from North Korea.


N. Korea Says It Targets S. Korean Media for Possible Attack

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea said on June 4 its military has entered map coordinates of some conservative South Korean media offices as it threatened to strike their headquarters for their alleged insult to North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un.

   The General Staff of the (North) Korean People's Army said the country's troops have been targeting the Seoul headquarters of the Chosun Ilbo at coordinates of 37 degrees 56 minutes 83 seconds North latitude and 126 degrees 97 minutes 65 seconds East longitude. It also revealed the coordinates of the JoongAng Ilbo and Dong-a Ilbo newspapers, as well as the KBS, MBC and SBS television stations and CBS radio.

   It is the first time the North has released coordinates of intended targets in South Korea.

   "We would like to ask the Lee group if it wants to leave all this to be struck by the (North) or opt for apologizing and putting the situation under control, though belatedly," the General Staff said in an English-language ultimatum, referring to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

   Seoul, the South Korean capital city of more than 10 million people and home to South Korean media headquarters, is within range of North Korea's artillery and rockets.

   "If the Lee group recklessly challenges our army's eruption of resentment, it will retaliate against it with a merciless sacred war of its own style as it has already declared," the General Staff said in the ultimatum carried by the North's official KCNA.

   It also warned the North is "fully ready for everything" and "time is running out."

   South Korea defended its media reports on its socialist neighbor, saying freedom of the press is a basic right guaranteed in free and democratic countries around the world.

   The South Korean government said in a statement it "will maintain a posture to immediately cope with any North Korean provocation." A South Korean military official said no particular movements in the North Korean military have been observed.

   On June 4, Seoul's Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk urged the North to immediately stop threatening the South's media outlets. He said the North's threat was a grave "provocation" against South Korea's free and democratic system.

   There is no freedom of the press in North Korea where authorities use state media as a propaganda tool to strengthen personality cults of the country's leaders.