World / Asia-Pacific

ROK renews call on DPRK to come forward for dialogue

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-28 14:30

SEOUL -- Unification Minister of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Ryoo Kihl-jae urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK) again on Wednesday to return to the dialogue table to open an era of unification together on the Korean Peninsula.

"It would not be right to get skeptical (about inter-Korean relations) as the DPRK has not come to the dialogue table at present," Ryoo said at a seminar in Seoul. "I anticipate the DPRK comes forward for talks now and go together toward the path of unification."

His comments came as both the ROK and the DPRK refused to take a step back from their stance, making it harder for a dialogue atmosphere on the peninsula.

Pyongyang has called for the suspension of joint annual military exercises between Seoul and Washington in 2015 in return for its halt of nuclear tests, but the ROK said it will conduct three major war games with the United States as scheduled.

The DPRK has demanded the ROK prevent civic groups from floating anti-DPRK leaflets across the border via balloons, but Seoul said the government cannot intervene in the activity for freedom of speech.

Regarding the May 24 sanctions, which Pyongyang has wanted to be lifted, Ryoo said during the seminar that if the DPRK takes responsible actions, the sanctions would be removed, stressing that it would lead to an expanded cooperation between the two Koreas.

The May 24 sanctions, which banned all inter-Korean exchanges except for the Kaesong industrial zone, were imposed by the ROK in 2010 when a ROK Navy corvette sank in waters near the disputed western sea border.

The ROK claimed that it was torpedoed by the DPRK, but Pyongyang denied any involvement.

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