North Korea has nothing to gain from provocations against South Korea, Seoul’s Cabinet minister handling inter-Korean relations said Saturday, urging the communist nation to carry out reform and open up to the outside world.
Unification Minister Hyun In-taek accused Pyongyang of launching “reckless political provocations after military
provocations,” referring to the North’s unilateral disclosure of secret contact between the two sides with a claim that Seoul “begged” for summit talks with it.
The North’s claim, which the South flatly denied, was believed to be an attempt to hurt the reputation of the conservative government of President Lee Myung-bak who has refused to give in to pressure from Pyongyang to soften his hard-line stance toward the communist regime.
Officials in Seoul admitted to having secret meetings with the North, but stressed that they were aimed at seeking the North’s apology for last year’s two deadly attacks on the South that have sent inter-Korean ties plunging to their lowest levels in decades.
“North Korea can gain nothing from provocations against the South,” Hyun told an inaugural meeting of a civic forum. The minister urged Pyongyang to end its nuclear ambitions and embrace reform and openness so as to better feed its hunger-stricken people.
“We have to lead North Korea on to the right path of change with patience in order to develop inter-Korean relations in the right way,” he said.