South Korea calls for dialogue with North without preconditions

Seoul, June 16 (IANS) South Korea on Monday called for the North Korea to return to the dialogue table without any preconditions in response to the Pyongyang’s request to form an atmosphere conducive to improving inter-Korean relations.

Seoul’s unification ministry said in a statement that North Korea should immediately stop acts of escalating military tensions on the peninsula as Pyongyang itself mentioned an atmosphere to ameliorate the north-south relations, Xinhua reported.

The ministry said that Pyongyang should come to the inter-governmental dialogue table without proposing any unfair preconditions and should respond to Seoul’s call for private sector exchanges that contribute to recovering homogeneity between people of the two Koreas.

North Korea issued a government statement, carried on Monday by the official KCNA news agency, saying that there is no reason that dialogue and negotiations are not launched if the atmosphere of trust and reconciliation is formed between the two Koreas.

Urging South Korea to implement the June 15th Joint Declaration, Pyongyang called Seoul to suspend its joint annual war games with the US, stop slandering each other and remove legal and regulatory mechanisms that impede inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation.

The joint declaration, which contains a consensus on reunification of the two Koreas, was signed on June 15, 2000 when then South Korean president Kim Dae-jung and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Il met in Pyongyang.

In response, the South Korean ministry said that it has made clear several times its position of honouring all inter-Korean agreements made in the past, including the June 15th Joint Declaration.

Seoul has maintained a position that all issues of mutual interest, including how to fulfil inter-Korean agreements, should be resolved through a broad range of negotiations launched by sincere dialogue offers, the ministry said.

On December 29 last year, the then South Korean unification minister Ryoo Kihl-jae offered talks with his North Korean counterpart, toward which Pyongyang has kept mum.

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