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S. Korea rejects N.K. claim Seoul not stakeholder to nuke issue

2017/06/19 11:44

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SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Monday refuted North Korea's claim that Pyongyang's nuclear issue is a matter that can only be discussed with the United States.

North Korea's propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said that Pyongyang and Washington are the only stakeholders in the nuclear issue, claiming that Seoul has no say.

"As six countries were parties to the six-party denuclearization talks, North Korea's nuclear issue is not a matter only for the United States and the North," Lee Eugene, vice spokesperson of Seoul's Ministry of Unification, told a press briefing. "It is an international issue and South Korea is also a stakeholder."

   Lee urged North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile tests and walk on a path toward better inter-Korean relations.

The six-party talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia, have been stalled since 2008 when the North walked out of the negotiation table.

North Korea claims that South Korea, which it calls a puppet of the U.S., should step out of talks over its nuclear weapons development as its nuke aspirations are a deterrence against Washington's hostile policy.

The North's propaganda outlet Meari (echo) struck a similar note.

"It is preposterous for the South to suggest the resolution of North Korea's nuclear issue as a precondition for an improvement in inter-Korean ties," it said.

President Moon Jae-in said last week that South Korea is willing to hold unconditional dialogue with the North if Pyongyang does not make additional nuclear and missile tests.

It marked the first time that Moon offered conditions for inter-Korean dialogue since he took office in May.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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