Pyongyang criticized the speech of South Korean leader Moon Jae In, delivered on the occasion of Korea's Liberation Day. According to the representative of the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Homeland, the DPRK does not intend to return to negotiations with its neighbors.

Recall, the day of the liberation of Korea is celebrated on August 15 by both the North and the South - in 1945 it was the day of the surrender of Japan and the liberation of then-united Korea from colonial rule.

The cause of discontent from Pyongyang was the words of the head of the Republic of Korea about a "series of alarming actions by North Korea in the recent past." At the same time, according to Moon Jae-in, “the impetus for dialogue remains”, but only thanks to the efforts of Seoul to establish peace in the region.

In Pyongyang, Moon Jae-In’s speech was called “chatter” not related to the theme of Liberation Day, and Seoul’s peace initiatives were compared to the “mountain that gave birth to the mouse.”

  • South Korean President Moon Jae In
  • Reuters
  • © Kim Hong-Ji

The North Korean side recalled that it is precisely now on the South Korean territory that joint US-Korean exercises are being conducted against the DPRK, and in such conditions it’s “embarrassing to talk about the atmosphere of dialogue”. This is stated in a statement published on the website of the Central Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, a North Korean news agency.

“The implementation of the historic Panmunjom Declaration has come to a standstill, and the driving force of dialogue between the North and the South has been lost,” the committee said in a statement.

Seoul’s calculations to take advantage of the dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington are meaningless, and while the DPRK leadership does not intend to sit again at the negotiating table with the southerners, the authors of the document warn.

According to experts, the accusations made by Pyongyang are justified. As Alexander Zhebin, head of the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained in a commentary to RT, the DPRK believes that, according to the agreements reached last year, hostile acts, including military exercises, should stop.

“But US-South Korean exercises continue, albeit on a smaller scale. At the same time, their orientation remains the same - the teachings are aggressive in nature, although the opposite is stated in words. In addition, the DPRK cannot but pay attention to the fact that last year South Korea increased its defense spending by more than 8% and plans to do this further, ”the expert noted.

Aggressive exercises

The South Korean leadership has responded to criticism voiced by the northerners. According to the representative of the Ministry of Association of the Republic of Korea, the words of the North Korean side contradict the agreements reached earlier by the parties.

“We would like to emphasize that such statements not only contradict the spirit of the agreements reached by the leaders of the North and South and enshrined in the Panmunjom and Pyongyang joint declarations, but also do not contribute to the development of inter-Korean relations,” the deputy spokesman of the ministry said at a briefing, adding, that Seoul will continue to implement the provisions of the declaration.

According to the head of the Department of Korea and Mongolia of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Vorontsov, after the completion of the US-South Korean exercises, Pyongyang can soften its rhetoric.

  • Military exercises of South Korea and the United States.
  • Reuters
  • © Kim Hong-Ji

Such maneuvers pose a real military threat to the North, which during this period is engaged in strengthening its defense capabilities, and freezes the dialogue. This is Pyongyang’s traditional approach, negotiating against the backdrop of military maneuvers would simply be inappropriate, ”the expert noted in a commentary on RT.

Recall, on the eve of Seoul, it was announced that Pyongyang launched new “unidentified shells” from the Thonchon district of Gangwon-do province towards the Sea of ​​Japan. This was reported by the agency "Ronhap" with reference to the South Korean military.

The National Security Council of the Republic of Korea stated that the shells issued by the DPRK were short-range ammunition, and urged Pyongyang to stop shelling, as this leads to an escalation of military tension.

The missile launches carried out by the DPRK authorities in recent days have become a response to the joint exercises of the armies of South Korea and the USA, which are going on despite the protests of Pyongyang. As stated on August 9 by the DPRK Homeland Unification Committee, military maneuvers are “the root cause of escalation on the Korean Peninsula” and may trigger retaliation from the North.

However, Seoul and Washington did not abandon the intention to conduct exercises - on August 11, the second phase of the maneuvers began.

On the same day, the North Korean military successfully tested new weapons under the direct supervision of Kim Jong-un. As stated in the statement of the North Korean leader, cited by the CTC, a new system was tested that had "excellent tactical properties." According to the South Korean military, we could talk about short-range ballistic missiles.

Guided position

It should be noted that in the White House these tests did not cause indignation. According to US President Donald Trump, short-range missiles were not the subject of US-Korean accords.

According to Alexander Zhebin, such calmness of the American leader is explained quite simply - because Trump promised that he would not allow American cities to be targeted by North American missiles.

“In principle, he fulfilled his promise - Kim Jong-un promised to abandon the tests of intercontinental missiles. In return, Pyongyang received the tacit consent for the development of short-range missiles. Moreover, all neighbors of the DPRK have weapons of this class, ”the expert emphasized.

Against the backdrop of arms tests of the DPRK and the joint exercises of the United States and the Republic of Korea, the relations of Pyongyang and Seoul began to deteriorate, while the rhetoric between the American administration and North Korea is still at the same level, experts say.

  • Missile launch on August 7, 2019, North Korea.
  • Reuters
  • © KCNA

Recall that in 2017-2018, it was the leadership of South Korea that initiated the dialogue and the beginning of the process of normalizing relations with Pyongyang. Detente came after the President of the Republic of Korea, Park Geun-hye, was removed from office ahead of schedule, and the new head of state, following the election results, was Moon Jae-In. Even during the election campaign, the politician spoke a lot about the need to establish relations with the North, and when he came to power, he began to realize these promises.

The first contacts took place on the sports line - almost immediately after the election, Moon Jae-in proposed to unite the teams of the North and the South during the 2018 Winter Olympics, which was to be held in the Republic of Korea. In April 2018, Moon Jae In and Kim Jong-un met in the border village of Panmunjom. Although at first in the White House the initiatives of inter-Korean rapprochement were taken without enthusiasm, over time, Washington also became involved in the negotiation process. In June 2018, a historic summit of the leaders of North Korea and the United States took place, at which the parties signed a declaration on the desire for peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

However, real progress in the implementation of the document is still small - although Pyongyang has stopped nuclear tests, as well as tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles, Washington has not begun to lift the sanctions imposed earlier against North Korea.

According to experts, criticizing Seoul, Pyongyang signals its general dissatisfaction with the actions of a neighbor.

“In words, the administration of Moon Jae In demonstrates an active willingness to develop dialogue, but in practice shows indecision and dependence on the position of the United States. Northerners have repeatedly called on the South to determine whether it has priority for it - inter-Korean relations or alliance with Washington, ”Alexander Vorontsov said.

A similar point of view is shared by Alexander Zhebin. According to the expert, the speech of Moon Jae In was only an occasion for Pyongyang to express the accumulated discontent.

“Probably, Pyongyang is already starting to lose patience. By its statement, the DPRK warns that if the Moon Jae In administration continues to submit to the United States, then negotiations with Seoul will really lose their meaning. In this case, an agreement should be made exclusively with Washington, ”summed up Alexander Zhebin.