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N. Korea calls for broad dialogue to improve inter-Korean relations

2013/08/22 13:45

SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Thursday called for broad dialogue and cooperation to fundamentally improve inter-Korean relations following the landmark agreement to reopen a shuttered factory park in Kaesong.

The agreement to normalize the Kaesong Industrial Complex was reached on Aug. 14 after it was shut down by the North amid heightened military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The move has opened the door for the two sides to hold talks on arranging reunions of families separated by the Korean War (1950-53) and negotiate on the possible resumption of tours to the Mount Kumgang resort.

An article by the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, said the Kaesong agreement is the first step toward restarting dialogue and cooperation, and that all sides must strive to take full advantage of the positive development.

"There is a need to expand cooperation and talks across the board in line with understandings reached in the 2000 and 2007 summit meetings," the paper claimed. The two summits helped lay the basis for rapprochement between the two sides that are still technically in a state of war since the Korean conflict ended in a ceasefire pact and not a peace treaty.

It said that failure to look at the big picture that can enhance mutual interest, and instead focusing on small issues and clinging to self-centered views will only fuel contention and hinder improvements in relations.

The daily that reflects the views of the North's leading policymakers then said that if all sides abide by the so-called Uriminzokkiri spirit, there is very little that cannot be resolved. This spirit can be translated into "by our nation itself" or self-determination.

The Rodong Sinmun said that Pyongyang is committed to drastically improving cross-border relations, and striving for unification and prosperity.

The North's Council for National Reconciliation, meanwhile, said in a separate report carried by Pyongyang's main Internet-based media and propaganda website that the Kaesong agreement turned a new leaf in South-North relations.