Civic groups call for int'l support for Korean Peninsula peace
SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- Fifty-four civic and social groups in South Korea issued a joint statement on Monday calling for international support for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The statement signed by Lawyers for a Democratic Society, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and other liberal organizations noted that there is growing concern about a stalemate in relations between North Korea and the United States after the fruitless end of their second summit last month and Pyongyang's ensuing threat to end negotiations.
"Member countries of the U.N. Security Council and the international society should cooperate to ensure the Korean Peninsula's peace process won't be shaken," the statement said, calling for continued dialogue between the North and the U.S.
"It is not realistic and appropriate for the U.S. to ask North Korea to accept its demand for complete denuclearization at once. The North should also be mindful of deep-rooted outside distrust."
The statement then called for lifting at least the anti-North sanctions on the humanitarian sector, saying even humanitarian assistance has run into difficulties due to the U.N. sanctions and Washington's independent sanctions toughened after the North-U.S. summit.
"Under any circumstances, the (Korean Peninsula) should not return to the past of military tension and nuclear war crisis. International support is desperately needed to help the effort for Korean Peninsula peace to bear fruits," the statement said.
The civic and social organizations plan to send the statement to U.N. Security Council member countries and the U.N. sanctions committee on North Korea.
Major N. Korean websites offline as of Tuesday morning
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