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North Korea stresses ethnic unity with South amid missile base controversy

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea state media advised against foreign interference in inter-Korea issues on Thursday. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE
North Korea state media advised against foreign interference in inter-Korea issues on Thursday. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- North Korea state media said Thursday inter-Korea issues should be resolved through the "people" of North and South, following revelations this week Pyongyang has maintained activity at an undeclared missile base, after the Singapore summit between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Thursday "no one can dispute" the resolution of North-South problems through the "objectives and demands" of a unitary Korean people.

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"At present our republic is actively working to develop North-South relations, based on the historic Panmunjom Declaration and the September Pyongyang Joint Declaration, and in accordance with the objectives of the people and the demands of our time," the Rodong stated.

"Even if there are difficulties in the path to unification, if our people join forces there is no way one can say no obstacles can be overcome."

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South Korean analyst Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said the statement is a strategic move, Yonhap reported.

"Even as North Korea is showing a will to continue summit-level negotiations, it is watching the South's pace in talks on the more important issue of railroad, road-building projects," Yang said.

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North Korea frequently promotes ethnic unity between North and South, but as denuclearization talks stall between the United States and North Korea, the setbacks are having an impact on North-South family reunions.

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Seoul Shinmun reported Wednesday a plan to hold one more reunion before the end of 2018 is unlikely as North Korea may be less responsive to South's call for coordination.

South Korean officials of the Korean Red Cross said winter weather conditions may also not be ideal for gatherings involving senior citizens.

More than 60 percent of separated South Koreans registered with the program are in their 80s or older.

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Participants say they watch the news to hear the latest on the North Korean issue because politics will affect their future plans to see their family members in the North, according to the report.

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