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Seoul urges Pyongyang to give up 'reckless provocations' on war anniversary

All Headlines 23:33 June 25, 2011

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's prime minister urged North Korea Saturday to stop "reckless provocations" and enter the path to "co-prosperity and permanent peace" on the Korean Peninsula.

In a speech at a ceremony marking the 61st anniversary of the start of the Korean War, Kim Hwang-sik asked North Korea to join hands with South Korea in efforts to achieve co-prosperity of the Korean people.

"North Korea should refrain from any further reckless provocations and should join the efforts to promote co-prosperity and permanent peace for the Korean people," Kim said at the ceremony at the War Memorial of Korea in central Seoul.

"We're the only divided country in the world. Only through strong defense posture, peace on our land will be guaranteed," he said.

Attending the ceremony were about 4,000 people, including government officials, war veterans from home and abroad, bereaved and separated families, and foreign diplomats stationed in South Korea.

During the ceremony, a "roll call" was held to remember the soldiers who were lost during the 1950-1953 war.

The war ended with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, on July 27, 1953. North Korea and China signed the Korean armistice agreement with the U.S.-led United Nations Command, which represented South Korea.

There is no official record on how many lives were lost during the war, but historians suggest about 970,000 South Koreans, 1.7 million North Koreans, 150,000 U.N. forces, mostly Americans, and 900,000 Chinese died.

Later on Friday, North Korea urged South Korea to scrap its "preconditions for dialogue."

A spokesman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea denounced South Korea for blocking inter-Korean dialogue with unacceptable preconditions attached.

Traitors in the South "vied with each other in making remarks aimed to incite national division and confrontation. If it is truly interested in the north-south dialogue, the (South Korea) group should stop vicious provocative moves and abandon all of what is called preconditions," the spokesman said in a Korean Central News Agency report.

The remarks came after Seoul has repeatedly said that North Korea's sincerity about two deadly attacks it unleashed against South Korea last year as well as its denuclearization commitment is the most important condition for resuming inter-Korean dialogue or other talks.
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