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(LEAD) S. Korea calls for peace, reconciliation on inter-Korean summit anniversary

All News 23:20 June 15, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS North Korea's reaction in last 4 paras)

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Thursday urged North Korea to seek reconciliation and peace as the two rivals marked the 17th anniversary of their first summit.

On June 15, 2000, leaders of South and North Korea held a historic summit in Pyongyang, which produced a landmark joint declaration on reconciliation.

Seoul's unification ministry said that a spirit of reconciliation expressed in the declaration takes on a significance for the current grave inter-Korean ties.

"By respecting and implementing the joint declaration, the two Koreas should carry out a spirit of seeking peace on the Korean Peninsula and inter-Korean reconciliation," the ministry said.

The anniversary came amid heightened tensions sparked by North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. Liberal President Moon Jae-in proclaimed a dual-track approach of pressure and engagement.

But North Korea called Moon's policy a "foolish act and self-deception," urging the South to ditch what it called confrontational policies, including Seoul's 2010 unilateral sanctions.

It has turned down South Korean civic groups' move for inter-Korean exchanges in protest of Seoul's support of the latest U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea's agency in charge of inter-Korean ties Wednesday called on South Korea to take actions to ease military tensions along the border.

This file photo taken by the Joint Press Corp. on June 13, 2000, shows former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung (R) and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-il shaking hands at an airport in Pyongyang as the two Koreas hold their first inter-Korean summit. (Yonhap)

Also on Thursday, another North Korean government body blamed the South Korean government for failing to hold a joint event to celebrate the historic inter-Korean summit.

In a statement carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency, the Consultative Council for National Reconciliation criticized the South Korean government for "reading the face of the U.S."

South Korea and the U.S. are scheduled to hold a summit later this month.

Moon, who took office a month ago, has vowed to guard against further provocations by North Korea while finding middle ground through inter-Korean dialogue and civilian exchanges.


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