North Korea says ‘regret’ does not mean apology, warns South

September 2, 2015
Kim Jong-un and his administration deny accusations of human rights violations from the United Nations. (Yonhap/KCNA)

North Korea is unhappy that South Korea is insisting that the North’s regret is the equivalent of an apology by international standards. (Yonhap/KCNA)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — North Korea on Wednesday urged South Korea to refrain from making comments that could dampen inter-Korean ties following the two nations’ landmark deal, warning that Seoul’s attitude could push the hard-won conciliatory mood to return to confrontation.

The two Koreas reached a landmark agreement last week to ease tension on the Korean Peninsula and resume the reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, raising hopes for better ties.

Just a week after the agreement was produced, North Korea warned South Korea not to make comments that could hamper the hard-won conciliatory atmosphere on the peninsula.

“South Korea should refrain from making remarks that could dampen inter-Korean relations,” an unspecified spokesman at the North’s National Defense Committee said in a statement. “If South Korea leaves this situation as it is, inter-Korean relations could return to confrontation.”

The agreement was reached as the two Koreas were on the verge of a military clash following an explosion of North Korean land mines near the inter-Korean border and Seoul’s subsequent resumption of its loudspeaker campaign carrying anti-Pyongyang messages.

The North expressed “regret” over the land mine explosion that left two South Korean soldiers seriously injured. South Korea has said that the North’s regret is the equivalent of an apology by international standards.

But the North made it clear that its expression of “regret” does not equal an “apology” for the land mine incident, saying that the South is interpreting the meaning of the word to its own advantage.

“At a critical time when the landmark deal should be cherished, South Korea has continued to make comments that could hamper the inter-Korean ties following the agreement,” the spokesman said.

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