North Makes Move to Pressure South

Kim Yong Hun  |  2012-02-03 10:40
The National Defense Commission yesterday publicly informed Seoul of what it sees as the preconditions for the improvement of inter-Korean relations, calling for an apology for what it sees as the poor attitude of the South Korean government to the death of Kim Jong Il, and the suspension of US-ROK joint military exercises.

As reported by Chosun Central News Agency, the statement read, We call upon the South Chosun authorities to respond clearly to the following public questions, before going on to list a total of nine conditions.

Our military and people vividly remember the sin of the Lee XX rebel faction before the state funeral faced by the people last year in December, it explained. If the South Chosun authorities really hope for dialogue and contact with us and the improvement of inter-Korean relations, above all they should judge the eternal traitor Lee XX and his party in the name of the people.

(The Lee administration) needs to accept their treachery and apologize sincerely, as well as make a commitment not to touch our dignity or foolishly attempt to undermine our sacred system and unity ever again, it went on.

Current inter-Korean relations are a result of the Lee XX gang of traitors trying to tie us to the Cheonan incident and pass blame for the Yeonpyeong Island affair onto us as well, it stated, before adding, (The Lee government) must apologize before the Korean people for all of the wrongs it has committed to date, spreading theories accusing us of involvement in the Cheonan incident and denouncing our self-defense measures as military provocations.

The document then asked whether the South Korean government would be prepared to make a public pledge not to slander the North or continue trying to pass blame for the Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island incidents onto Pyongyang.

Regarding joint military exercises with the US, it said, In recent times the Lee XX gang of traitors has been sending its puppet military warmongers to the US to plot the schedule for the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, even while wailing about dialogue.

The letter then asked whether the Lee government would be willing to cancel the huge joint-military exercises, which North Korea believes are designed to target it.

Also contained in Pyongyangs demands were issues such as: the termination of psychological warfare; the restarting and revitalization of inter-Korean exchanges; movement from a state of ceasefire to one of peace; and, the repealing of the National Security Act.

Responding to the demands, an official from the South Korean Ministry of Unification said later in the day, We are disheartened that North Korea is making these claims to fit in with its official propaganda at what is an important time for peace and development of ties on the Korean peninsula. There is no need for the government to respond to each and every one of the issues raised by the North.

The official also called on North Korea to Stop letting down the Korean people and the international community, and show some seriousness of purpose in responding to our approaches for a restart to talks.

The letter contains certain conditions South Korea is unable, politically, to accept, for example demanding that Seoul effectively rescind the blame for the Yeonpyeong Island shelling and Cheonan sinking, and emphasizes the offence taken at South Koreas refusal to allow unfettered access for South Korean civilians to mourn the death of Kim Jong Il. However, this offence is also politically motivated, designed to generate leverage in any future horse-trading.

In addition, the move puts the ball in President Lees court by giving Pyongyang some evidence with which to deny claims that it has not responded to proposals for talks.

Commenting on the afternoons news, Park Young Ho from the Korean Institute for National Unification told Daily NK last night, North Korea appears to be intent on pressuring the South Korean government by only putting forward conditions the (Lee) government will find it tough to accept. Theyre basically saying that they are willing to have talks right now, but that these are not taking place because of the nine issues which South Korea is to blame for.

We cant say there is no desire for talks in North Korea, Park agreed, adding that I think this is a strategic move to put the onus on South Korea and perhaps obtain certain concessions.
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