N. Korea’s provocations hinder inter-Korean deals: Seoul

SEOUL-- South Korea's unification ministry said Tuesday that it is illogical for North Korea to call for the South to honor inter-Korean agreements on cooperation while testing a new ballistic missile.

Ji Jae-ryong, North Korea's top envoy to China, on Monday called on South Korea's new government to respect and fully implement inter-Korean agreements on reconciliation and cooperation during his meeting with foreign reporters.

The Ministry of Unification in Seoul said that the North's call cannot be read as a sign for dialogue as Pyongyang test-fired a new intermediate-range ballistic missile the same day.

"The reason why the inter-Korean agreements have not been fully carried out is that North Korea has conducted nuclear and missile provocations," a ministry official said.

The North's call came as liberal politician Moon Jae-in was sworn in as South Korea's president last week amid expectations that he would seek engagement with North Korea.

Among the agreements between the two Koreas were the declaration on cooperation following a historic summit on June 15, 2000 and the two Koreas' joint declaration on denuclearization in 1991.

The ministry said that North Korea should honor the deal on the denuclearization if it hopes to urge the South to implement the remaining inter-Korean agreements.

Meanwhile, the official said that the government plans to review how to prepare for an inter-Korean summit anniversary event slated for June after taking into account its ties with North Korea and Pyongyang's nuclear issue.

In 2000, then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-il held a historic summit in Pyongyang, producing a landmark agreement outlining reconciliation and economic cooperation between the two rival Koreas.

During the liberal administration of President Roh Moo-hyun in 2003-2008, civic groups held summit anniversary events in Seoul and Pyongyang.

"Details will be decided after the government reviews them by taking into account (various) factors such as inter-Korean policy and North Korea's nuclear problems," he added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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