Pyongyang blasts Seoul for defense budget hike ahead of envoy's visit

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 5, 2018 - 13:12
  • Updated : Sept 5, 2018 - 13:12

North Korea's propaganda media on Wednesday slammed South Korea for its defense budget increase plan and renewal of a military information sharing agreement with Japan, as the South's presidential envoy arrived in Pyongyang in the morning.

Meari, the North's external propaganda website, said the South Korean government's plan to increase its defense budget by 8.2 percent next year is a grave challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration calling for phased disarmament on the Korean Peninsula.

The Panmunjom Declaration was signed by the leaders of the two Koreas at the April 27 summit to promote peace on the peninsula.

In a file photo, South Korean marines during a military exercise on Baengnyeong Island, near the disputed sea border with North Korea. (Reuters)

"It is common sense that the people who have fought against each other hold down the weapons they were holding when they are reconciled. Military disarmament is a first step to turning confrontation into reconciliation," Meari said in a column.

"The South Korean military is now more interested in arms buildup than disarmament. Such a reckless move could produce an unexpected result."

In a separate column, Meari also took issue with Seoul's recent decision to extend the General Security of Military Information Agreement, a military intelligence sharing deal signed with Japan, for another year.

The website warned that the extension of the GSOMIA is an extremely dangerous act that could bring about a new Cold War.

"The South Korean military's act of extending the GSOMIA will pose a grave obstacle to the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration, which calls for opening a new era of peace on the Korean Peninsula," the website said.

Watchers here say the Pyongyang media appears to be trying to put pressure on the South's envoy by mentioning subjects the North feels uncomfortable with. (Yonhap)