N. Korea re-urges South to accept olive branch

By 정주원
  • Published : Jan 28, 2014 - 11:44
  • Updated : Jan 28, 2014 - 11:44

North Korea again called on South Korea Tuesday to react positively to its charm offensive, while remaining mum on the South's proposal to hold reunions of separated families next month.

On Monday, the Seoul government proposed holding reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War for six days from Feb. 22, as it welcomed North Korea's recent offer to stage the meetings at Mount Kumgang, a scenic mountain resort in eastern North Korea, at a "convenient time" for South Korea.

While remaining silent about Seoul's proposal, the communist country instead urged it to make joint efforts to improve the inter-Korean relations and vowed to fulfill its role for national reunification and peace.

"Unilateral efforts will never improve the inter-Korean ties ... The people are waiting for good news about a breakthrough in the ties," the North's main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said.

"It is a right duty to respond with good will to favor ... South Korea should accept our suggestions to stop military provocations and mutual slandering."

The communist country made a similar call on the South on Monday, suggesting in its newspaper article that both Koreas are "fundamentally responsible for amending near-collapsing inter-Korean ties," in an about-face in its long-held stance of putting the blame on the South.

It was seen as the latest of its conciliatory gestures toward Seoul.

Experts, however, say it remains to be seen whether the North would accept the South's proposal of holding the family reunions in mid-February, shortly before the scheduled annual Seoul-Washington military drills.

North Korea has repeatedly demanded that South Korea and the U.S. scrap the drills set to run from late February through April, calling them a rehearsal for nuclear war against it. But the allies plan to go ahead with it saying the exercises are defensive in nature. (Yonhap News)