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People's Daily Online

ROK urges DPRK to respond to its offer of dialogue

People's Daily Online

(China Daily) 09:57, January 02, 2015

The Republic of Korea's Ministry of Unification said on Thursday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should respond to its offer of talks if it wants to improve relations.

'If the DPRK sincerely wants to improve South-North relations through talks, we hope it will respond rapidly to the dialogue we previously suggested,' the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the DPRK has shown a more detailed position on inter-Korean relations, compared with 2014.He noted that there has been no change in the ROK's stance that dialogue and cooperation would improve inter-Korean ties and lead to a peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

The statement came after a New Year's message from the DPRK leader Kim Jongun in which he said, 'If the South Korean authorities sincerely want to improve North-South relations through talks, stalled high-level contacts can be resumed, and other talks can be held issue by issue.'

'If the atmosphere and environment is created, there is no reason not to hold the highest-level talks,' Kim said.

It was the first time that the DPRK leader has commented on the inter-Korean summit since he took power in December 2011. He said 2015 will mark a turning point for blazing a path toward independent reunification of the Korean nation.

Despite the huge changes that have taken place around the world during the past seven decades, the Korean nation is still suffering the pains of separation, and such a tragedy cannot be tolerated anymore, Kim said.

He said the DPRK made sincere efforts to improve inter-Korean relations in 2014, only to face worsened ties between North and South because of interference by internal and external forces opposed to reunification.

As annual large scale war exercises in the ROK exacerbate tensions and pose the threat of a nuclear war, Seoul should stop all martial provocation, particularly reckless military exercises jointly conducted with foreign forces, he said.

On Monday, the ROK's Unification Minister Ryoo Kihljae offered to hold high-level talks with the DPRK this month. The last round of senior level contact was in February, and led to the reunion of families separated by the 195053 Korean War.

Pyongyang agreed to Seoul's proposal for senior level talks in October when three high level DPRK officials made a surprise visit to the ROK for the closing ceremony of the Asian Games in Incheon.

However, the talks failed to go ahead after the two sides exchanged fire along the border after conservative groups in the ROK floated anti-DPRK leaflets across the border via hot air balloons.

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