N. Korea dismisses Moon’s peace initiative as ‘sophistry’

SEOUL-- North Korea on Saturday criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in's initiative for cross-border rapprochement as "sophistry" in its first response to the proposal made last week.

The Rodong Sinmun, the North's main newspaper, said the so-called Berlin initiative, which Moon announced in the German capital last Thursday, would not be helpful in improving inter-Korean ties long strained amid the reclusive state's relentless provocations.

"The overall content, enumerated under the name of peace, carries confrontational intentions to quash its neighbor while relying on foreign forces," the paper said in a commentary.

"(The initiative) is riddled with sophistries like sleep talking, which only pose hurdles rather than helping improve North-South relations," it added.

During his visit to Berlin to attend the Group of 20 summit, Moon announced the initiative under which Seoul pursues Pyongyang's denuclearization with a security guarantee, and economic and diplomatic incentives, while seeking a peace treaty and dismissing the prospect of forced unification.

The North's paper also dismissed Moon's call for bilateral dialogue and cooperation, demanding a "fundamental shift in policy and stance."

While referring to Moon's proposals for the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and civil-sector cooperation, the newspaper said that there would not be any nonpolitical exchanges when the fundamental issue of cross-border confrontation remains unmentioned or unresolved.

It also took issue with the fact that the initiative was unveiled on foreign soil.

"It is nonsensical that (the president) enumerated these crucial issues -- which we, Koreans, should lead in resolving -- before foreigners with different skin colors, with whom we don't share the same language," it said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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