(ATTN: ADDS ministry official's response in last 2 paras)
SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet on Tuesday denounced South Korea's plan for the development of inter-Korean relations this year as unrealistic, saying that cross-border ties are currently stalled because Seoul has given in to U.S. pressure.
Late last month, the unification ministry reported to the National Assembly its plan to move relations with North Korea forward, including efforts to realize a visit to Seoul by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and to regularly hold inter-Korean summits.
Calling the plan "unrealistic" and "valueless," Uriminzokkiri said in a commentary that inter-Korean relations are making slow progress not because South Korea does not have a plan but more because it is "scared" of the pressure from the U.S. and the conservatives.
"Indeed, the unification ministry, handling inter-Korean relations, made no achievements to speak of, let alone play a leading role in implementing North-South declarations while reading the faces of the U.S. and the South's conservatives," it said.
The remarks came one day after Kim Yeon-chul was sworn in as South Korea's unification minister. Upon his inauguration, Kim vowed to use inter-Korean economic cooperation as a catalyst to move the hard-won peace process with the North forward.
"If the unification ministry neglects its responsibility and wastes time, it will be faced with more criticism from all corners of society and amplify people's skepticism on the current administrations' North Korea policy," the commentary said.
Asked to comment on the commentary, a ministry official said the government will continue efforts to improve ties with the North.
"We will put joint efforts to improve inter-Korean relations to a sustainable level by fully implementing joint agreements," the official said.
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