North Korea's official newspaper blamed South Korea's "betrayal behaviors" for the current stalemate in inter-Korean relations, urging Seoul to "return to basics" and respect the spirit of last year's summit agreements.
The criticism came a day after North Korea said that Pyongyang and Washington agreed to resume working-level talks after months of impasse following their February summit, raising cautious hopes that progress in the upcoming talks could help the stalled inter-Korean relations move forward.
"The South Korean authorities have been passing the buck for the current stalemate in the North-South relations," the Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary. "It cannot be anything but very impure words and actions that reverse black and white."
"The root cause behind the stalemated relations between the North and the South lies with betrayal behaviors of the South Korean authorities," the paper added. "While agreeing to jointly work to improve North-South relations and ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, it has conspired with outside forces and stuck to concealed hostile acts."
The paper was apparently referring to a joint military drill held by South Korea and the United States in August, which it has criticized as rehearsal for invasion of North Korea.
The paper also called on South Korea to "return to basics" and remind itself of the spirit of the summit agreements the two Koreas reached last year if it is really worried about inter-Korean relations.
South and North Korea saw a marked improvement in their relations last year as their leaders held three summits at which they agreed to expand cooperation and ease tensions.
But since the breakdown of the Hanoi summit between the North and the US in February, Pyongyang has ramped up its criticism of South Korea for dragging its feet in inter-Korean relations and being too mindful of Washington, urging it to take a more active and independent North Korea policy.
On Tuesday, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui issued a statement, saying that Pyongyang and Washington will resume working-level talks Saturday.
Earlier in the day, the North fired what was believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile from waters off its east coast in an apparent bid to raise stakes ahead of the scheduled talks.
Seoul's unification ministry handling inter-Korean affairs reaffirmed that it aims to create a "virtuous circle" between progress in denuclearization talks and cross-border relations with North Korea.
"It is our government's stance to start from where South and North Korea have shared perceptions and push for ways aimed at narrowing opinions (in other areas) based on mutual trust," Lee Sang-min, the ministry's spokesperson, told a regular press briefing. (Yonhap)