The Korea Herald


Parties condemn N.K. provocative acts

By 송상호

Published : Sept. 18, 2015 - 17:44

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South Korea’s ruling and opposition parties alike called on North Korea to stop any provocative moves to escalate military tensions and damage the emerging mood for dialogue on Friday, a day before the 10th anniversary of a landmark denuclearization deal.
Rep. Moon Jae-in, leader of the main opposition New politics Alliance for Democracy, speaks during the party`s Supreme Council meeting on Friday. (Yonhap) Rep. Moon Jae-in, leader of the main opposition New politics Alliance for Democracy, speaks during the party`s Supreme Council meeting on Friday. (Yonhap)
Moon Jae-in, leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, stressed the need for Pyongyang to show “restraint,” saying that its mention of a possible rocket launch and a nuclear test could escalate tensions on the peninsula.

“The North has hinted at its launch of a rocket and a possible nuclear test. This is an act that would throw cold water on the emerging mood for inter-Korean dialogue,” Moon said during his party’s decision-making Supreme Council meeting.

“North Korea, as a member of the international community, should work together to forge peace. It should exercise restraint to revive the momentum for dialogue. It should not threaten the world through provocative methods that would lead it to face deeper isolation.”

Touching on the so-called Sept. 19 Joint Statement, Moon said it is the only way to address Pyongyang’s nuclear problem, and that the North and other concerned parties should try harder to revive the spirit of the statement.

The 2005 statement was formulated at the now-dormant six-party talks that involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia. Under the deal, North Korea vowed to renounce its nuclear program in exchange for political and economic benefits.

The deal fell apart as Pyongyang conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. The communist state now calls itself a nuclear weapons state in its constitution and maintains the so-called Byungjin policy of simultaneously developing its economy and nuclear arms.

Apparently to raise the stakes in future negotiations with the U.S., South Korea and other parties over its nuclear program, Pyongyang said this week that it restarted all of its nuclear facilities at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex.

It also stressed that it has a “sovereign right” to strengthen nuclear deterrence for self-defense and to push for a satellite launch, which many suspect would be a long-range rocket test to advance its missile technology.

Kim Jung-hoon, the policy chief of the ruling Saenuri Party, also criticized Pyongyang’s provocative moves, urging it to give up its nuclear arsenal in line with the 2005 deal of the six-party talks that have long been stalled since late 2008.

“On Friday, we mark the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Sept. 19 Joint Statement under which the North pledged to give up all its nuclear weapons. And currently, the two Koreas are discussing the holding of reunions of separated families,” he said during a meeting with his party members.

“Against this backdrop, North Korea’s threats (of a rocket launch and a nuclear test) came. This is an anachronistic act that would make it a loner in the international community. Everybody knows that the root cause of the cross-border conflict is North Korea’s military threats.”

Seoul’s military authorities said they have yet to detect any clear signs of the North launching provocations in the near future. But they did not rule out the possibility of the North setting off “strategic provocations” to strengthen internal unity and show off its military presence.

By Song Sang-ho (