ROK calls on DPRK for senior-level dialogue

Updated: 2014-09-05 13:37


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SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) on Friday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) once again to respond to its offer for senior-level talks.

"The South side proposed the high-level contacts (with the DPRK) , and called for response to it twice," Lim Byeong-cheol, spokesman of Unification Ministry, in charge of Seoul's inter-Korean relations, said in a statement.

Lim said there is no change in ROK's position that all inter-Korean issues will be resolved via dialogue, stressing that Seoul has left the door open for the talks.

The Park Geun-hye administration proposed to hold another round of senior-level talks with the DPRK on Aug. 11 and 18, to which the DPRK has kept silence, to discuss the reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and other pending issues of " mutual concern."

Local media reported that the ROK's government seemed to get more willing to ease sanctions against the DPRK, such as the May 24 measures imposed in 2010 when the ROK navy corvette Cheonan sank in waters near the disputed western sea border.

The sanctions have since banned all inter-Korean exchanges except for the joint factory park in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong.

The ROK also reportedly got more open-minded to discussing other sensitive issues the DPRK has demanded to resolve, such as the resumption of tours to the Mount Kumgang resort in the DPRK's southeast coast.

The tour, launched in 1998, was halted in July 2008 when a female tourist from the ROK was shot dead by a DPRK solider after venturing into an off-limit area.

The spokesman said Pyongyang should respond to Seoul's dialogue offer rapidly, if belatedly, and discuss pending inter-Korean issues, including the separated family reunion, in a sincere manner, adding it will become good news to separated families in the two Koreas during the upcoming Chuseok holiday.

The Chuseok holiday, an equivalent to the Thanksgiving Day in the United States, will start from Saturday through next Wednesday.

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