NATIONAL

Korea calls for Pyongyang to stop harsh words, respond to talks offer

By Catherine Chung
  • Published : Aug 10, 2017 - 16:09
  • Updated : Aug 10, 2017 - 16:09
South Korea's foreign ministry urged North Korea on Thursday to stop saber-rattling immediately and repeated the call for Pyongyang to respond to its dialogue offer aimed at easing tensions in the region.

"The North's recent threatening words have gone too much and run squarely against with the consensus contained in the statement issued after the ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum). It should stop them immediately," Cho June-hyuck, foreign ministry spokesman, said during a regular press briefing.

"The North should make the right choice and come out to the road toward denuclearization," he added. "In particular, (we) urge it again to swiftly respond to our initiative for better inter-Korean relations so as to establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula."

(Yonhap)

The ARF, held in the Philippine capital of Manila on Monday, is a rare regional security gathering to which North Korea sends its foreign minister annually.

Following the meeting also attended by 26 other Asia-Pacific countries and major powers, it issued the chairman's statement in which they expressed "grave concern" over North Korea's escalation of tensions and urged it to fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions.

The member states also expressed support for efforts to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue in a "peaceful" manner.

Tension has reached a new high recently as North Korea is stepping up saber-rattling after the UNSC adopted Resolution 2371 that includes a complete ban on its exports of coal, deemed to be a major source of money channeled into its weapons program.

At the ARF, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho condemned the latest resolution as a fabrication and threatened to retaliate against the move led by the US. Earlier in the day, the North repeated its threats to fire missiles into waters off Guam where US strategic assets are stationed.

Last month, South Korea offered talks to the North in order to ease tensions along their borders and resume reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. In his brief encounter with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha at a gala dinner in Manila on Sunday, Ri apparently rejected the offer, saying it "lacks sincerity." (Yonhap)