Sun, Apr 13, 2014 - Page 5 News List

N Korea ridicules reunification offer

AFP, SEOUL

North Korea yesterday blasted South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s proposal on laying the groundwork for reunification through economic exchanges and humanitarian aid as the “daydream of a psychopath.”

The blistering attack from the North’s powerful National Defense Commission was the first official reaction from Pyongyang to a proposal that Park made in a speech last month in Dresden, in the former East Germany.

She urged the North to expand reunions of families separated by the division of Korea and increase cross-border economic and cultural exchanges, starting with the South bolstering humanitarian aid. “Germany’s unity is for us an example and model for a peaceful reunification,” she had said.

A North Korean spokesman said that German reunification came about with the West absorbing the East and accused Park of begging foreign countries to help a reunification in which South Korea absorbed the North.

“This is merely a daydream of psychopath,” he said, denouncing Park’s proposal, billed as the “Dresden Declaration” by Seoul, as “nonsense” full of “hypocrisy and deception.”

“The fact that, in that particular place, Park Geun-hye lashed her tongue about reunification gave away her sinister mind,” he said in a statement in Pyongyang’s state media.

Reunification is enshrined as a national priority in both the South and North Korean constitutions, but pro-merger sentiment in the prosperous South has waned considerably in recent years.

The North Korean spokesman urged Seoul to abide by earlier agreements, including a landmark agreement signed in 2000, saying that all these previous accords gave priority to addressing the issue of easing military confrontation.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain high since the South launched annual military exercises with the US in February, described by Pyongyang as a rehearsal for an invasion against the North.

In a pointed protest at the exercises, Pyongyang carried out a series of rocket and missile launches, capped by its first mid-range missile test since 2009 on March 26.

The two Koreas also traded artillery fire across the tense Yellow Sea border on March 31, after the North dropped about 100 shells across the maritime boundary during a live-fire drill.

The exchange followed a North Korean warning that it might carry out a “new” form of nuclear test — a possible reference to a uranium-based device or a miniaturized warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile.

Park also said in her speech that the South would help funnel international funding to the North’s economic development, should Pyongyang give up its nuclear weapons programs.

“The tongue-lashing of Park Geun-hye is the root cause of deteriorating North-South relations. It is the unanimous view of the public that ... relations will be smoother ... if Park keeps her disgusting mouth closed,” he said.

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