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S Korean ruling party offers to have inter-Korean dialogue
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13:17, July 14, 2008

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South Korea's conservative ruling party on Monday proposed to have talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The proposal came after a South Korean tourist was shot dead in DPRK's resort Mount Geumgang, where South Korea's Hyundai Asan company operates an inter-Korean tourist program since 1998, last Friday.

"The tragic case shows how important it is for the two sides to make peace," said Grand National Party whip Hong Joon-pyo during a parliamentary speech Monday.

"As it remains difficult to resume inter-Korean talks on a government basis, I suggest opening a dialogue channel between the legislators of the two countries to openly discuss the issues regarding peacemaking on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

Hong also asked DPRK to cooperate in South Korea's planned investigation into the death of the South Korean woman.

"The North side (DPRK) must bear in mind that the inter-Korean ties can only be mended via its active cooperation in the investigations," he said. "Thorough investigations must be conducted to prevent a similar incident in the future and to console the bereaved family."

The DPRK has expressed regret over the tourist's death, but has refused to offer an apology. It also rejected South Korea's move to send officials to the tourism complex to investigate the case.

The DPRK rejected South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's proposal of having inter-Korean summit last week. Relations between the two countries have been strained since the Lee's administration, which shifted the inter-Korean policy to a tougher one, in late February. The political dialogue between the two countries were suspended since then.


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