Posted July. 13, 2017 07:17,
Updated July. 13, 2017 07:35
North Korea has expressed its position on South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s peace initiative unveiled in his speech in Berlin, Germany last week.
Choson Sinbo, North Korea’s mouthpiece in Japan, on Tuesday urged Seoul to cancel the South Korea-U.S. Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercise scheduled for August, saying that Pyongyang would make a decision based on the South’s “action rather than words.” Although Choson Sinbo is an organ of a pro-North Korean group in Japan and not Pyongyang’s official media, the North has been using it as an external channel for sounding out the outside world.
"If the proposal is based on South Korea's submission to the U.S. and hostility toward the North, Seoul cannot expect Pyongyang's positive response," the newspaper said. The article attracted attention, as it was Pyongyang’s first response to Moon’s peace proposal just one day after the North’s official daily Rodong Sinmun denounced the South Korean president for visiting the United States in its worst rhetoric since Moon’s inauguration on May 10.
It was not the first time when the North appeared to be turning deaf ears to the South’s peace proposal while leaving room for dialogue on the condition of suspending Seoul-Washington joint military exercises. On May 22, North Korea Ambassador to India Kye Chun-yong said that Pyongyang could halt its nuclear test if Washington stops military exercises. It was Pyongyang’s typical tactics of trying to shake up South Korea when the United States does not react to the North’s demand. Pyongyang’s proposal, which is in line with Beijing’s call for halting both Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and Seoul’s joint military drills with Washington, seems to be aimed at driving a wedge between South Korea and the United States and seeking, in the long term, negotiations with Washington.
When former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung made a peace proposal in March 2000, North Korea took six days to respond by calling it a “nonsense” but left the possibility open for dialogue if Seoul showed change in action. At that time, the two Koreas maintained a minimum level of exchanges. Now, when the communication channels between the two sides have been completely cut, talks of dialogue are meaningless. The vicious circle of the North’s provocation repeated after dialogue and aide must be ended now. Seoul should not stick to the Berlin proposal.