North Korea denounces South Korea’s development plans as ‘unrealistic’

Seoul: Terming the development of inter-Korean relations as ‘unrealistic’, North Korea on Tuesday said that engaging in cross-border ties with South Korea is not possible as the latter has given in to US pressure, the local media reported.

Last month the unification ministry of South Korea had come up with its plan to move bilateral relations with North Korea forward. The plan included North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visits to Seoul and holding of inter-Korean summits, Yonhap news agency had reported.

Calling the plan “unrealistic” and “valueless”, Uriminzokkiri, a North Korean propaganda outlet, noted that inter-Korean relations are making slow progress not because South Korea does not have a plan but because it is “scared” of US pressure.

“Indeed, the unification ministry handling inter-Korean relations made no achievements to speak of, let alone play a leading role in implementing North-South declarations while reading the faces of the U.S. and the South’s conservatives,” the North Korean website noted.

The remarks came a day after Kim Yeon-chul was sworn in as South Korea’s unification minister. Upon his appointment, Kim vowed to use inter-Korean economic cooperation as a catalyst to move the peace process and denuclearisation talks with the North forward.

“If the unification ministry neglects its responsibility and wastes time, it will be faced with more criticism from all corners of society and amplify people’s skepticism on the current administrations’ North Korea policy,” Uriminzokkiri said in its documentary.

However, a South Korean government official said that their efforts to improve ties with the North will continue.

“We will make joint efforts to improve inter-Korean relations to a sustainable level by fully implementing joint agreements,” the official was quoted as saying.

South Korea’s unification minister, however, did not mention any particular project with North Korea but promised to reopen the suspended cross-border projects, including an industrial complex in the North’s border town of Kaesong and tours to Mount Kumgang on the North’s east coast.

The developments come ahead of the upcoming summit between United States President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, scheduled to take place in Washington on April 11.

This will be the first meeting between the two leaders since the February summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi which ended abruptly without reaching any deal.