Suh Hoon, chief of South Korea's presidential National Security Office (Yonhap)
North Korea sharply criticized South Korea's national security adviser over his remarks during a recent trip to the United States that inter-Korean relations should be resolved through discussions with the US and other countries in the region.
The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the remarks by Suh Hoon, chief of the South's presidential National Security Office, represent a "denial and betrayal" of a series of inter-Korean agreements.
"South Korea's security adviser secretly visited the United States and went fooling around with them," KCNA said, referring to Suh's trip to Washington earlier this month that included meetings with his counterpart Robert O'Brien and other top officials.
During the trip, Suh told reporters that inter-Korean relations "cannot be said to be a relationship between only the South and the North" and that it "needs to be discussed, coordinated and conducted together with the United States and neighboring countries."
KCNA slammed Suh's remarks as "absurd," saying they "degrade the sacred inter-Korean relations to something subordinate of international relations."
It then called his remarks Seoul's "public display of denial and betrayal" of several inter-Korean agreements, including the historic June 15 Joint Declaration in 2000, the Oct. 4 Pyongyang Declaration in 2007, as well as the 2018 Panmunjom Declaration and the Pyongyang Joint Declaration under President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
It also stressed that inter-Korean relations is not an issue to "leach off of a foreign country, discuss and get help from outsiders but rather a national issue that must be resolved between the two Koreas."
The rare criticism by state media against the top national adviser that handles President Moon's North Korea policies appears to be a warning against the strengthening alliance amid the upcoming US presidential elections and stalled nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang. (Yonhap)