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S. Korea prods North to accept talks offer

2015/01/14 14:29

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea renewed its call on the North on Wednesday to accept its December offer to hold high-level talks as the communist country has remained silent on the overture for over two weeks.

"(The government) once again calls on North Korea to come to the negotiating table immediately," unification ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol said in a regular briefing.

For the moment, the government intends to wait for an answer from the North over the offer without making another official proposal, the spokesman noted.

On Dec. 29, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae officially proposed the two Koreas hold a high-level dialogue to discuss pending issues, including a need for holding a reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

In her national address earlier this week, President Park Geun-hye again prodded the North to come to the negotiating table to discuss holding the reunion event during the Lunar New Year's holiday season that falls in mid-February.

The North, however, has yet to respond to the offer as of Wednesday while calling on the South to try to improve inter-Korean relations.

North Korea's mainstream Rodong Sinmun newspaper published a group of articles in its Wednesday issue under the title "Write a new history of North-South relations through the unity of the people," calling for measures on the part of Seoul to resolve tension on the peninsula.

In the articles, the North urged the South Korean government to stop anti-Pyongyang policies, including the civil-led campaign to spread dissenting messages near the border.

"If (Seoul) sticks to confrontational policies and emotions of animosity and distrust rather than showing trust, talks cannot take place, and even when talks do take place, they will only be temporary," the newspaper noted in English.

The newspaper also highlighted three previous inter-Korean joint declarations that call for efforts for a peaceful unification of the two Koreas.

Seoul and Pyongyang have issued three joint declarations, including the most recent one in 2007 between late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, in efforts to facilitate peace on the peninsula.

With the North continuing to repeat such a call since the talks offer two weeks ago, experts said that the recent rhetoric may be intended to assert its position ahead of a possible dialogue with the South.

In a separate section, the North Korean newspaper also called on the United States to end its hostile policy toward the communist country.

The recent U.S. sanctions on the North imposed over the alleged hacking into Sony Pictures are a scheme to drive a wedge between the two Koreas, the newspaper said.

"The U.S. has deliberately encouraged confrontations and a bloody war mode whenever there were signs of less tension on the Korean Peninsula," the Rodong Sinmun noted, adding that the U.S. government should end its hostility toward Pyongyang.