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People's Daily Online

S. Korea calls for DPRK's denuclearization stance before military talks

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:02, May 23, 2016

SEOUL, May 23 (Xinhua) -- South Korea on Monday called for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to show its stance on denuclearization, in response to the DPRK's dialogue overtures on military matters over the weekend.

Seoul's defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Gyun told a regular press briefing that the ministry sent a reply through a western military hotline at 9:30 a.m. (0030 GMT) to the notice sent on Saturday by the DPRK's Ministry of the People's Armed Forces.

The Seoul ministry said via the reply that the escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula were caused by the DPRK's provocative acts such as nuclear test and missile launches, expressing regrets over the DPRK's military dialogue proposal without any mentioning of its nuclear program, according to the spokesman.

The south side called for the DPRK's showing of its stance on denuclearization before making any dialogue overtures, making it clear that Pyongyang should show its will on denuclearization through actions if the country really wants peace and stability on the peninsula.

Moon said that the South Korean government will hold fast to a basic position that the DPRK's denuclearization measures will be a top priority in any inter-Korean dialogue.

The Ministry of the People's Armed Forces sent the notice on Saturday 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.

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 Pyongyang.

The DPRK's defense ministry said that military authorities of the two Koreas 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.

Calling the DPRK's dialogue offer as a "camouflaged" charm offensive, the Seoul ministry spokesman said that the proposal failed to include a nuclear issue, the most essential part of inter-Korean relations and peace on the peninsula.

The spokesman said that Pyongyang's dialogue proposal was aimed at weakening the international community's efforts to tackle its nuclear program, adding that Seoul's hasty acceptance of Pyongyang's dialogue offer may delay the DPRK's denuclearization process.

The DPRK's dialogue overtures were widely expected here in South Korea as Pyongyang needs to take its "charm offensive" strategy as part of efforts to escape from the sanctions from the international community over its nuclear and rocket provocations for the first two months of this year.

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