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N. Korea slams S. Korea over meager progress in joint projects

North Korea 11:30 December 21, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 21 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet accused South Korea of what it claims to be stalled inter-Korean cooperation on Friday, saying that Seoul cannot make a single step it wants to due to pressure from Washington.

The criticism comes as Seoul and Washington held their second "working group" meeting in Seoul to discuss coordination on how to deal with North Korea and its nuclear weapons program.

"South Korean authorities should feel responsible for depressing the inter-Korean relations on the back of the U.S.' maneuver for sanctions and pressure before talking about its 'driver theory,'" the website Uriminzokkiri said, referring to President Moon Jae-in's pledge to take the initiative by sitting in the "driver's seat" when handling North Korean affairs.

"Nothing would be resolved as long as (Seoul) continues to curry favor with the U.S., tied by its dependence on outside powers and blind following of the U.S.," it added.

North Korea has been voicing growing frustration over the U.S. refusal to ease sanctions.

The denuclearization negotiations between the two countries are at a stalemate as Pyongyang wants sanctions relief in return for what it claims to be substantive denuclearization steps, while Washington is calling for more tangible steps before making major concessions.

The latest article drew particular attention as Seoul's top nuclear envoy, Lee Do-hoon, and his American counterpart, Stephen Biegun, held a working group session on denuclearization on the same day.

Both inter-Korean cooperation and taking a coordinated approach toward Pyongyang amid concerns about a possible mismatch of progress in denuclearization talks were high on the agenda.

The two Koreas recently concluded an 18-day inspection of the North's railways in its western and eastern regions after a monthslong delay caused by concerns over violating the sanctions on Pyongyang.

They are currently preparing to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the project to modernize and reconnect roads and railways over their border next week.

South Korea said it is in close consultation with the U.S. and the United Nations to make sure that the project does not violate current sanctions.

N. Korea slams S. Korea over meager progress in joint projects - 1


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