N. Korea renews offer to halt military hostilities
SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea renewed its recent proposal to suspend all military hostilities on Friday, the 42nd anniversary of a joint inter-Korean declaration on the unification of the divided Koreas.
In a special proposal on June 30, the North suggested that the two Koreas end military hostilities, including the joint Seoul-Washington military drill Ulchi-Freedom Guardian planned for later this year, making a rare conciliatory gesture toward South Korea ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Seoul this week.
"The recent appeal, carried in the special proposal, to take action in order to inaugurate a new era of conciliation and cooperation is our republic's expression of position and will to strive for a unification," said a commentary carried by Rodong Sinmun, the North's mainstay news daily. It is an organ of the country's governing Communist Party.
The July 4 joint communique, announced by the two Koreas in 1972, is the first official joint document seeking a peaceful unification of the peninsula through closer cooperation and independent of foreign influence.
Seoul, however, rejected the proposal one day after it was made, citing a lack of sincerity.
The North reacted by test-firing two missiles into the East Sea on Wednesday, the latest of the country's three missile launches in about a week.
"Different ideologies and systems between the North and South do not constitute a reason to fight between the same people," the newspaper said. "(The countries) are capable enough of overcoming their differences and achieving unification and peaceful prosperity through talks and negotiations."
The newspaper also carried other articles contributed from the country's key organization in charge of inter-Korean affairs, denouncing the scheduled joint military exercise and calling for Seoul to accept the proposal.