By Alex Jensen
SEOUL (AA) - North Korea proposed a “grand meeting for reunification” Friday, as the reclusive state continued to reach out for dialogue with South Korea -- which has rejected numerous requests for talks from Pyongyang since last month.
The North’s latest offer was aimed at “improving the inter-Korean relations and accomplishing the cause of national reunification by the concerted efforts of all Koreans,” according to a statement released by Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency.
Seoul has rejected a series of North Korean calls for dialogue and cooperation since Pyongyang hosted a landmark congress last month, viewing them as insincere.
The North has this year alternated between a conciliatory attitude and threats of a nuclear war against South Korea and its ally the United States.
The congress which took place in May came after the United Nations had strengthened sanctions against North Korea for its fourth ever nuclear test in January, whereby the South has openly placed its faith in global punitive measures over dialogue following past breakdowns in cooperation efforts with Pyongyang.
The KCNA statement, which was reportedly adopted during a government meeting Thursday, spoke of the need to “pull down the barrier of hostility” just a day after the North’s state media warned of a “merciless” response to any trespassing South Korean vessels or drones along the Koreas’ disputed western sea border.
As Pyongyang’s appeal also urged a “sacred war” against the U.S., Seoul’s immediate response was negative.
“It’s only an obsolete propaganda offensive,” insisted a South Korean unification ministry spokesperson, who repeated that North Korea needs to fall in line with the world’s demand for its denuclearization.
The Koreas have been divided since the end of Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule over the peninsula, which was torn further apart by the 1950-53 Korean War.