S Korean unification minister blames DPRK for strained ties

16:17, April 20, 2010      

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South Korea's point man on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday blamed DPRK for strained inter-Korean ties, saying Pyongyang made "poor judgments".

"North Korea (DPRK) has for the past two years rejected all proposals the South Korean government has made. .. It has been biased in denouncing our policies for being uncompromising, which continuously deteriorated inter-Korean ties," Seoul's Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said in a speech.

"I believe North Korea made poor judgments .. by sticking to its confrontational stance," he added.

His remarks came at a sensitive time when the recent naval disaster near a tense maritime border between the two sides had sparked speculation in South Korea on Pyongyang's possible involvement, with the South Korean authorities saying the incident occurred due to an external explosion, possibly a torpedo attack.

The two sides have also wrangled over issues regarding moribund cross-border tour projects and a joint industrial complex, once key symbols of inter-Korean cooperation and vital sources of hard cash for Pyongyang.

Pyongyang has called on Seoul to reopen once-lucrative tour programs, halted indefinitely after a South Korean tourist was shot to death by a DPRK soldier, but Seoul has refused to do so without safety guarantees and a proper investigation into the incident.

The DPRK, in response, is currently taking steps to seize South Korean-held assets in the resort area, despite strong protest from the South Korea.

Hyun, who previously said the DPRK has in recent months made reconciliatory overtures, noted that it now appears to have adopted more hard-line approaches.

"The North should immediately withdraw its decision to confiscate South Korean properties. If it continues to behave in this manner, there will be no progress in inter-Korean relations," Hyun demanded.

Source: Xinhua


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