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(2nd LD) Rival parties slam N. Korean shelling

All Headlines 17:03 August 21, 2015

(ATTN: ADDS opposition party's resolution and more info in 8-12 paras)

SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's rival political parties slammed North Korea Friday for firing artillery shells across the inter-Korean border.

On Thursday, the two Koreas engaged in a brief exchange of artillery shells over the western part of the heavily fortified border.

"National security and peace can be achieved when the government shows determination to ruthlessly retaliate against North Korea's provocations," Kim Moo-sung, chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party, said during an emergency meeting.

The meeting was convened among senior party members to discuss how to respond to Pyongyang's provocations.

Kim further said that the Seoul government should show determination by immediately responding to stop the recurrence of such provocations.

Rep. Hwang Jin-ha, a general-turned-politician, criticized North Korea for ordering front-line troops to have full combat readiness against South Korea.

"All responsibility is on North Korea," Hwang said during the emergency meeting.

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) also adopted a resolution, denouncing North Korea's provocations.

"This shelling is a clear violation of the armistice and non-aggression agreement," according to the resolution adopted by NPAD during an emergency meeting of party members.

The resolution further said that "provocations are not an answer to a problem but a dangerous act that only brings about co-destruction."

Moon Jae-in, the leader of NPAD, also said North Korea's provocations should not be forgiven for any reason.

"Provocations that threaten peace on the Korean Peninsula and the lives of the people cannot be justified for any reason," Moon Jae-in said during the meeting.

Moon said that our people and the army will not forgive, saying that Pyongyang should cease armed force.

Moon, however, also argued that the Seoul government should be open to dialogue channels with Pyongyang to ease tensions.

"I suggest that our government offer high-level talks without any conditions attached, in response to North Korea's efforts (for talks)," he said.


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