Park calls for expanding ties with U.S. in energy, healthcare

N. Korea keeps up charm offensive despite S. Korea's rejection

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Published : 2014-01-21 13:13
Updated : 2014-01-21 13:13

 North Korea continued its charm offensive toward South Korea on Tuesday despite Seoul's clear rejection of a series of overtures by Pyongyang.

   North Korea repeated its demand that South Korea scrap its upcoming joint military drills with the United States, saying Seoul should immediately halt "hostile military actions."

   The North's main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, said the country's recent overture is designed to end the armistice and establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

   The two Koreas still remain technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

   Last week, the North's powerful National Defense Commission called for an end to all slander and hostile military actions between the two Koreas as it dangled the prospect of reunions of families separated by the Korean War.

   The North later vowed to take the first steps to fulfill its proposal, failing to elaborate.

   South Korea has dismissed the North's overtures as a "deceptive" ploy. Some analysts also said the North's conciliatory gestures cold be an attempt to lay the groundwork for possible provocations against South Korea.

   North Korea has a track record of carrying out provocations after making conciliatory gestures toward South Korea. The North carried out a third nuclear test in February last year, a month after the North called for an improvement in inter-Korean ties.

   Also Tuesday, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae dismissed the North's gesture.

   "I think the North knows that we cannot accept its proposals,"

Ryoo said at a Seoul forum, adding that the North's proposals did not make any logical sense.

   Instead, South Korea's point man on North Korea called on the North to resume family reunions, one of the highly emotional issues between the two Koreas.

   Most of the separated family members are in their 70s and 80s and want to see their long-lost relatives before they die.

   North Korea recently spurned Seoul's proposal to hold family reunions, citing, among other things, South Korea's upcoming military exercises with the U.S.

   The North claims the military exercises could be a rehearsal for a nuclear war against it. Seoul and Washington have said the annual drills are defensive in nature.  (Yonhap News)

 

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