South Korea asks North to halt hostility

April 2nd, 2008 - 3:08 pm ICT by admin  

Seoul, April 2 (DPA) South Korea Wednesday called on North Korea to immediately halt its barrage of attacks on President Lee Myung Bak’s government, a day after the latter called Lee a “traitor” and accused him of “sycophancy towards the United States.” The Defence Ministry in Seoul accused North Korea of seeking to create new tensions between the two neighbours in a message to the North’s negotiators in bilateral military talks.

“We urge you to immediately stop your recent activities as such intentional slander and fostering of tension do not help ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” the South Korean message said, according to the Defence Ministry.

The South is ready to engage in dialogue, it said while refusing a North Korean demand to retract comments made by General Kim Tae Young, the new chairman of the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Kim told a National Assembly committee last week that South Korea could strike at North Korean nuclear facilities if the communist state sought to attack it with nuclear weapons.

A series of acrid statements have since been issued through North Korea’s state-run media.

After Kim’s remarks, North Korea accused the South of planning a pre-emptive strike against its neighbour. The North threatened to end their dialogue and turn South Korea “into ashes” if there was a pre-emptive attack.

Seoul has denied such a plan.

Last week, North Korea expelled 11 South Korean officials from the inter-Korean industrial zone at Kaesong and threatened to halt work on disabling its nuclear facilities after South Korean and US officials indicated patience was running out over stalled nuclear talks with Pyongyang.

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