South Korea’s leader calls on North to stop raising tensions

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — South Korea’s president called on North Korea to stop raising animosities and return to talks, saying yesterday the rivals must not reverse the peace deals that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reached during 2018 summits.

President Moon Jae-in’s efforts to defuse rising animosities came after North Korea threatened last Friday to destroy an inter-Korean liaison office located in North Korea and take unspecified military steps against South Korea.

If North Koreans were to take such actions it would be a serious setback to Moon’s efforts toward Korean reconciliation and finding a negotiated solution to the North Korean nuclear issue. “North Korea must not sever communications and create tensions to turn back the clock to a past confrontational period,” Moon said during a meeting with top presidential advisers, according to his office.

“We must not push back the pledges of peace that Chairman Kim Jong-un and I made.”

North Korea has recently unleashed a slew of harsh rhetoric against South Korea, accusing it of failing to prevent activists from launching propaganda leaflets across their border.

In an apparent bid to soothe North Korea, Moon’s government vowed to ban civilian leafleting campaigns. North Korea has said the South Korean response lacks sincerity.

Moon said the two Koreas must take the initiative in finding a breakthrough, calling the nations “the masters of the destiny for the Korean Peninsula.”

He said his government will keep striving to promote dialogue with North Korea.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun and others attend a ceremony to unveil an installation artwork to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War in Seoul. PHOTO: AP