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ROK stresses need for talks with DPRK

By Xinhua in Seoul | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-14 07:09

The Republic of Korea's presidential office stressed on Wednesday the need for discussing arms control and military trust-building with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to lay the groundwork for discussing a peace framework on the Korean Peninsula when conditions become ripe.

The report, titled National Security Strategy, said that actual arms control will be pushed for when military trust-building makes progress between the ROK and the DPRK, and the issue of building a peace framework will be discussed "when conditions are ripe".

The report, comprising eight chapters on defense, unification and diplomacy, stressed the need for starting an inter-Korean discussion "at an appropriate time" on arms control and military trust-building to reduce the possibility of armed conflicts and military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Responsible measures

It said the ROK will first urge the DPRK to take responsible measures regarding the shelling of a frontline Yeonpyeong island and the sinking of the ROK navy corvette Cheonan.

In 2010, the DPRK conducted artillery strikes against the border island. In the same year, the Cheonan sank near the disputed western sea border.

The Seoul-led multinational investigation team claimed the sinking was caused by DPRK torpedo attack, but Pyongyang repeatedly denied its involvement in the 2010 incident, which killed 46 sailors.

According to the report, Seoul plans to call for Pyongyang to keep inter-Korean agreements, such as the end of mutual slandering and provocations, the prevention of accidental conflicts, and the military guarantee on projects that promote exchanges and cooperation between the ROK and DPRK.

Regarding economic cooperation, the ROK plans to start mutually beneficial economic cooperation with the DPRK by resuming small-scale trade in some areas, such as farm goods and trusted processing, when inter-Korean relations make progress, allowing for commercial investment in inter-Korean economic cooperation projects.

It indicated that the ROK could ease the so-called May 24 sanctions when inter-Korean ties improve. The May 24 sanctions were imposed by Seoul in 2010 when the Cheonan sank, banning all inter-Korean exchanges except for the joint factory park in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong.

In accordance with the improved ties between the ROK and the DPRK, Seoul will push for the development of the Kaesong industrial zone by allowing more ROK companies to run factories there, increasing investment and enhancing infrastructure such as communications and passage.

Frosty ties with Japan

Regarding the frosty ties with Japan, the report said the ROK will develop stable relations with its neighbor based on the "right perception of history", noting that Seoul will continue cooperation in security with Tokyo.

The report, however, added that the ROK will sternly deal with Japan's distortion of its militaristic history and its repeated territorial claims to a set of islets, called Dokdo in the ROK and Takeshima in Japan.

(China Daily 08/14/2014 page11)

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