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North Korea threatens inter-Korean relations could suffer amid criticism

By Jennie Oh
North Korea threatens inter-Korean relations could suffer amid criticism
File photo of a military parade on the 'Day of the Sun' festival in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang in April 2017. File Photo Courtesy of EPA/How Hwee-young

SEOUL, South Korea, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- North Korean media has warned its relations with the South could suffer, heavily criticizing Seoul's position on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

The daily Rodong Sinmun, issued by the North's ruling Workers' Party, published a commentary on Sunday, blasting the South Korean Defense Minister's remark last week that "the North's leadership will be wiped off the map, should it use its nuclear weapons."

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Defense Minister Song Young-moo had said the South will "strongly respond to North Korea's provocations" while utilizing measures such as sanctions and talks to achieve denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

He called on the international community to "proactively implement sanctions" against the North which he said poses the "most serious and imminent" threat to global security.

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The paper said Song's words were devised as a "tactic to ramp up sanctions and pressure, on an international scale, against the peace-loving nature of [the North's] nuclear power."

"The confrontational slander against the DPRK is a reckless act that follows Washington's scheme for nuclear war, while hampering the improved atmosphere of North-South relations," the commentary said.

It stated that such "confrontation" could "ruin inter-Korean relations," warning Seoul "should not forget such actions will reap irreversible consequences that it has no capacity to handle."

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The North Korean daily also shot down criticism against its plan to hold a military parade on the eve of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The North had recent changed the army's foundation date from April 25th to Feb. 8, and appears to have been preparing for a large-scale military parade involving at least 13,000 troops.

A commentary published Saturday retorted that the opening day of the Olympics should be adjusted if the date of the military parade is such a problem.

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The massive parade in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square is expected to showcase the North's latest military gear including a dozens of intercontinental-range Hwasong-15 missiles, which were tested for the first time in November last year, according to CNN.

The display of hundreds of missiles would aim to "scare the hell out of the Americans," the broadcaster said, citing a diplomatic source.

Seoul's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said earlier this month that Pyongyang is likely to hold a military parade on an "intimidating" scale, mobilizing sizable numbers of military personnel and almost all of its weapons.

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