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(LEAD) N. Korea renews call for Seoul's lifting of sanctions

All Headlines 14:40 July 14, 2014

(ATTN: ADDS more Rodong Sinmun comments in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Monday renewed its call on South Korea to lift sanctions against it, saying the change will bring forth cross-border reconciliation.

Following the North's deadly sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in March 2010, Seoul imposed what are called May 24 sanctions that completely ban economic or other exchanges across the border.

Denying its involvement in the incident, the North has since repeatedly called for the abrogation of the sanctions after the measure cut off inter-Korean transactions.

"Various bodies from South Korea are calling for the lifting of the sanctions in unison because they are hampering the interests of the North and South while raising the risk of war," said the newspaper Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's governing communist party.

"Such confrontational measures, which put obstacles in the path of the (Korean) people's reconciliation and unity, should be called off without hesitation," the daily noted.

The four-year-old sanctions have caused massive toxic effects in inter-Korean relations, the newspaper said, adding that wide opening of the path for exchange, contact, dialogue and cooperation would help fuel the entire (Korean) people's unification fever and will step up the mood for reconciliation and unity.

Pyongyang's recent announcement to dispatch athletes and a cheering squad to the Asian Games to be held in the South Korean port city of Incheon later this year is also part of such reconciliation efforts, it added.

Issuing a special proposal on June 30, Pyongyang suggested the two Koreas stop military hostilities including the joint Seoul-Washington military exercise planned for later this month. The country has renewed the proposal several times thereafter, extending its reconciliatory gestures toward Seoul.

Seoul, however, dismissed the proposal, citing a lack of sincerity.

In a separate editorial, the Rodong Sinmun also called on the U.S. to end its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and that if it doesn't, the North will beef up its nuclear arsenal.

"(Despite a change in administrations,) Washington's hostile policy toward North Korea has not changed, but rather it has been beefed up and enforced," the newspaper said, describing U.S. President Barack Obama's policy of "strategic patience" toward Pyongyang as a failure.

If the U.S. adheres to its current hostile policy, North Korea will "continue to expand and strengthen our nuclear arsenal," the editorial said, calling on the U.S. to choose between ending its hostile policy and maintaining the risky path.


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