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N.K. media slam Moon in veiled displeasure with slow progress in inter-Korean ties

All Headlines 14:01 July 20, 2018

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's media lashed out at South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday in what appears to be a reflection of growing discontent with the slow-paced advance of inter-Korean relations and economic cooperation.

In a commentary, the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, called what Moon recently said about the June 12 U.S.-North Korea summit "rude" and "useless" remarks.

The newspaper pointed to the president's lecture in Singapore last week in which he called on the North and the United States to implement what their leaders agreed to in June, warning of a grave judgment from the world if they fail to do so.

It went on to say that the "important" issues that the two Koreas have to address remain in limbo "indefinitely," blaming the South for hampering inter-Korean cooperation by citing the sanctions imposed on North Korea as an excuse.

It is rare for the North Korean media to directly criticize the South Korean president since the two Koreas held a summit in April and agreed to halt hostile acts against each other.

Experts say that the sharp rhetoric might reflect growing jitters inside the North about the slower-than-expected pace in the advancement of inter-Korean relations and economic cooperation, something the communist state might have in mind when coming out for talks earlier this year after a long isolation.

The two Koreas have pushed for cross-border contacts and talks to discuss cooperation in diverse sectors in a follow-up on their summit agreement.

Full-fledged economic cooperation between the two Koreas, however, is unlikely to take place anytime soon as Seoul and Washington remain firm that the North must first completely give up its nuclear weapons program.

North Korean officials are said to have expressed their disappointment with the lack of actual cooperative measures taken by the South during their recent working-level talks.

Such jitters appear to have been reflected in a recent media report as well.

On July 13, Uriminzokkiri, the North's external propaganda website, urged South Korea to more actively engage in cross-border cooperation.

It added any delay in cooperation would be an "irresponsible attitude," running counter to expectations for reconciliation and prosperity and cross-border cooperation is something that the two Koreas should determine on their own.

This comes amid worries that the denuclearization process could be bumpier than expected despite the landmark first ever summit between the North and the U.S. in June that led the North to promise to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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