S. Korea reiterates denuclearization call in response to DPRK's dialogue offer
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 20:47, May 24, 2016
SEOUL, May 24 -- South Korea's defense ministry on Tuesday reiterated its denuclearization call for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in response to Pyongyang's repeated dialogue overtures on military matters.
A South Korean defense ministry official told Xinhua on the phone that the DPRK sent a notice at about 5:40 p.m. (0840 GMT) through the western military hotline in the name of the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces under the National Defense Commission.
The Tuesday notice included the same contents as the one, sent on May 21 by the DPRK ministry to propose a working-level contact for inter-governmental military talks at a convenient venue and date for both sides between late May and early June to defuse military tensions on the peninsula.
On Monday, Seoul's defense ministry sent a reply to its DPRK counterpart, dismissing the dialogue offer as the proposal failed to mention its nuclear program, a key issue in inter-Korean relations and peace on the peninsula.
The Seoul official said Tuesday that there is no change in the government's basic position that the DPRK's denuclearization measures should be a top priority in any talks with Pyongyang.
The official reiterated that South Korea calls for the DPRK to explain its stance on denuclearization, demanding Pyongyang show its denuclearization will through actions if the country really wants peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Tensions have been running high on the peninsula after the DPRK's fourth nuclear test in January, followed by the country's launch in February of a long-range rocket, which outside world condemned as a disguised test of ballistic missile technology.
UN Security Council adopted tougher-than-ever sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear detonation and long-range rocket launch. Seoul closed down the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the last remaining inter-Korean economic project in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, as part of independent sanctions against the DPRK.
The DPRK's defense ministry said on Saturday that military authorities of the two sides should make straightforward discussions on current issues relevant to possible military conflicts as well as need to agree upon and enforce institutional and legal measures mandatory to taking realistic actions for securing military trust between the two sides.
The notice came a day after the DPRK's National Defense Commission said in an open letter Friday that South Korea should immediately respond to top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's proposal for inter-Korean military talks.
Kim mentioned the need for inter-Korean military talks during his speech at the DPRK's seventh congress of its ruling Workers' Party of Korea (DPRK) that lasted for four days through May 9.
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