World / Asia-Pacific

ROK to always open door to DPRK for dialogue

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-13 11:08

SEOUL -- The Republic of Korea (ROK)'s President Park Geun-hye said Monday that Seoul will always open door for dialogue to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) while sternly dealing with its provocations.

Park made the remarks during a second plenary session of the presidential preparatory committee for unification between the two Koreas.

The first session was held in August. "As a proverb says'it needs dialogue even during war,'talks should continue ( between the two Koreas) for easing tensions and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula,"Park said.

The president said expectations got high for improved inter-Korean relations after the top-level DPRK delegation's visit to the ROK and the subsequent agreement to senior-level inter-Korean talks.

Park, however, noted that situations on the peninsula are destabilized after the two Koreas traded naval gunfire in waters near the western maritime border and exchanged machine gun fires near the military demarcation line.

Park said the ROK will make efforts to establish peace on the peninsula by always opening the door for inter-Korean talks to the DPRK, while sternly dealing with the DPRK provocations.

On Oct. 10, the DPRK forces fired 14.5-mm machine gun toward balloons carrying anti-DPRK propaganda leaflets floated by a ROK civic organization, mainly made up of"defectors" from the DPRK.

No damage was reported from the ROK side, but two bullets fell in a ROK western border town. In response, the ROK military fired some 40 rounds of 12.7-mm K-6 machine gun.

Pyongyang repeatedly called for the stop of the leaflets spreading, accusing Seoul of supporting and acquiescing to the leaflets distribution.

On Oct. 7, naval ships of the two Koreas exchanged fires near the disputed western sea border after a patrol ship of the DPRK violated the Northern Limit Line (NLL).

The skirmishes were widely expected to cast a cloud over thawing inter-Korean relations. On Oct. 4, the DPRK and the ROK agreed to hold a second round of senior-level dialogue between late October and early November during the sudden visit of three high-ranking DPRK officials to ROK's Incheon.

Park said the inter-Korean relations have shown such a double-faceted picture citing the agreed dialogue and the exchange of fires, adding that it would be "very dangerous" to change an environment for inter-Korean relations with a half-baked idea.

Park commented on the May 24 sanctions for the first time since her inauguration, saying the two sides should meet to resolve the sanction issue through a sincere dialogue in a responsible manner.

The DPRK has picked the sanctions as the biggest obstacle to sincere talks. It was imposed by the ROK in 2010 when the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan sank in waters near the disputed western maritime border.

The sanctions have since banned all inter-Korean exchanges except for the Kaesong industrial zone in the DPRK's border town and some humanitarian aid programs.

Pyongyang also has called for resuming tours to the Mount Kumgang resort in the DPRK's southeast coast. The tour, launched in 1998, was halted in July 2008 when a ROK female tourist was shot dead by a DPRK soldier after venturing into an off-limit area.

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told lawmakers on Oct. 8 that resuming the tour project can be discussed if the high-level contact is held between the two sides, noting that all issues, including the lifting of the May 24 sanctions, can be on the dialogue table.

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