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Seoul to offer humanitarian aid to N.K. if dialogue reopens

South Korea will seek to rebuild trust with North Korea by offering humanitarian aid to Pyongyang if inter-Korean dialogue is reopened, a top security official said, despite months of high tensions triggered by the North’s nuclear test.

Ju Chul-ki, the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security, told senior diplomats on Tuesday that Seoul is willing to “present several proposals to North Korea if (inter-Korean) dialogue resumes.”

The remarks by Ju were in line with President Park Geun-hye’s “trustpolitik” policy that calls for dialogue and exchange to foster trust with North Korea, while strongly responding to the North’s acts of provocation and its defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Later in the day, Ju made it clear that his government’s North Korea policy is aimed at getting rid of the North’s nuclear programs.

“Progress on North Korea’s nuclear issue means eliminating the North’s nuclear arsenal,” Ju told Yonhap News Agency.

Although the security situation on the Korean Peninsula has shown no signs of easing, Ju said he was hopeful of reopening inter-Korean talks.

North Korea has fired a total of six short-range projectiles into the East Sea since Saturday. Still, it remains unclear whether they were short-range guided missiles or large-caliber rockets that were shot from multiple launchers.

Although the North said the tests of “rockets” were part of routine military drills, South Korea and the U.S. have been perplexed over the North’s motives.

Tests of short-range missiles or projectiles by North Korea are not uncommon, but the North’s latest tests dashed hopes of softening months of high tensions, which forced an inter-Korean industrial complex in the North’s border city of Kaesong to face permanent closure. (Yonhap News)
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