South Korea urges North to revive dialog

South Korean Unification Ministry calls on Pyongyang to maintain dialog after sides unable to reach joint agreement at end of high-level talks

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

South Korean Vice Unification Minister Hwang Boogi (L) shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart Jon Jong Su during their meeting at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in Kaesong, North Korea, December 11, 2015.

South Korea called on the North to "come forward for follow-up talks" after two days of high-level talks ended on Saturday without any breakthrough.  

The summit was held from Friday to Saturday in the North Korean border town of Kaesong and ended without a joint statement.

Shortly after the talks, North Korea’s state controlled news agency Uriminzokkiri on its website blamed Seoul for their failure.  

"Slandering and defaming the opposite party is a source of trouble that spoils the mood of talks and tie-mending," the post said on Sunday.

"In order to bring about dialogue and tie-mending between the North and the South, [Seoul] should refrain from speeches and actions that violate them," it added.

Pyongyang took offence at South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s speech on human rights and nuclear-related issues in Paris this month.  

"Now is the time that those who are directly responsible for improving inter-Korean ties should be careful with their words and behavior," the website said.

Pyongyang also criticised Seoul on Saturday, claiming that it refused to discuss basic inter-Korean issues such as the resumption of a long-suspended joint tour program.

"There is no change in the government's basic policy to develop South-North ties and lay the foundation for a peaceful reunification by holding open dialogue with the North," South Korean Unification Ministry spokesperson Jeong Joon-hee said on Monday.

The two countries had agreed to resume the dialog after reaching a bilateral agreement which obliged North Korea to apologise for its recent military provocations following the August 4 incident, in which two South Korean soldiers were severely injured by a landmine explosion.

The agreement also called on Seoul to stop broadcasting propaganda loudspeakers into North Korea, which had intensified after the August 4 incident.

Improving relations between two Koreas has always been a difficult task. The two states have been at odds since they separated by the 1950-1953 Korean war.

Korea had been under colonial rule by the Japanese Empire for 35-years. After this ended in 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union decided to temporarily occupy the country and formed a trusteeship system.  

An effort to construct an independent government for the entire Korea came from statesman Lyuh Woon-Hyung in September 1945. Following this failed attempt, the US formed an initiative to hold a free general election in Korea. Disagreement between the Soviet Union and the United States prevented this from taking place.

The absence of an unified government in the country caused two separate governments to emerge in the North and South. A communist state was established with the influence of the Soviet Union in the North while a pro-American one was founded in the South.

TRTWorld and agencies