N. Korea calls for end to confrontation on eve of election in S. Korea

May 9, 2017

SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) — With South Korea’s presidential election just one day away, North Korea on Monday called for an end to the history of inter-Korean confrontation.

“The tragic North-South Korea relations today have been wrought by the conservative groups which, having been in power for the past 10 years, revived the foregone period of confrontation and maximized the political and military rivalry between the same race,” the leading ruling party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said in a column on its Monday issue.

On Tuesday, South Korea is to pick a new president to replace Park Geun-hye who was removed from her presidency in March over corruption charges.

The last poll before the election showed Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party leading the race by a wide margin. If elected as president, Moon is likely to tilt toward engagement with North Korea, a departure from the sanctions-focused policy under Park and her previous conservative administration led by Lee Myung-bak.

“Our people’s yearning for peace has been mercilessly trodden by the conservative groups, manic followers of confrontation,” the North Korean newspaper said. “The history of inter-Korean confrontation, led by the conservatives, should be put to an end and a new era of unification should open up in collaboration between our race .. To that end, the conservative groups’ scheme to seize power again should be resolutely shattered.”

The column is in line with the North Korean regime’s repeated attempts to influence the presidential election. The North has been wary of having another conservative administration in the South.

In a separate column by the Rodong Sinmun on Monday, the North also sniped at Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn for his recent remarks stressing the need to beef up sanctions on Pyongyang.