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NK Demands Apology for Strained Inter-Korean Ties

Posted March. 16, 2009 09:48,   


North Korea has demanded an apology from South Korea for worsening bilateral relations.

The secretariat of the North`s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said Saturday, “If South Korea is really interested in having dialogue, it must make a public apology for its criminal act of destroying inter-Korean relations by sparking confrontation and bringing the two Koreas close to war.”

Pyongyang’s official mouthpiece Rodong Shinmun also said, “The severe recent tension between the two Koreas is the result of the South Korean government’s anachronistic and anti-North Korea schemes.”

Pyongyang permitted the return to Seoul of two Koreans and four foreigners -- one Australian and three Chinese – who had to get married or attend their children’s weddings Saturday. The North had detained until yesterday 427 people who were scheduled to return Friday or Saturday.

Kim Ho-nyoun, South Korea`s Unification Ministry spokesman, said, “A total of 763 South Koreans are being held in North Korea, including 727 in Kaesong, 35 at Mount Kumgang, and one in Pyongyang. Another 655 will enter the (inter-Korean business complex in Kaesong) and 214 will leave the complex Monday, but there is no knowing when the border will be reopened.”

In a meeting with the heads of 26 companies operating in the industrial complex yesterday morning, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said, “We need strong assurance that operations at the complex will not be affected by security, military and political changes. The South Korean government does not wish to see the complex suffer damage.”