Seoul regrets Pyongyang decision to nullify accords
February 1, 2009
SEOUL — Officials from South Korea’s Ministry of Reunification expressed regret over North Korea’s announcement Friday that it had scrapped all agreements between the two countries.
North Korea’s official news agency said the country was nullifying all agreements with the South in response to the country’s confrontational policies.
The North also said it would no longer recognize the Northern Limit Line — the maritime border between the two countries in the Yellow Sea.
Regular U.S. military operations continued Friday with no heightened alerts.
U.S. Forces Korea spokesman Dave Palmer said the announcement wouldn’t affect any USFK operations but directed further questions to South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense.
"It’s agreements between two sovereign nations and not agreements with us," Palmer said.
Ministry of Defense officials said they will continue to enforce the Northern Limit Line.
"Our position about the NLL is unshakable," a defense ministry official said. "The NLL shall be adamantly maintained. If North Korea violates it, we will deal with it firmly at any cost."
South Korea Ministry of Reunification officials said that nothing had changed with the nullification announcement, because any alteration of accords with the heavily armed, reclusive, totalitarian North would require mutual agreement, and the officials urged Pyongyang to agree to talks, according to a ministry release.
"We would like to urge North Korea to see that the formation and expansion of tension into inter-Korea relations is not desirable in keeping the peace in Northeast Asia or around the world," the release said.
An official with the ministry said a review is under way on how the North’s scrapping of the accords would affect inter-Korean businesses, such as the Kaesong Industrial Complex, where North Koreans work in factories funded by South Korean companies, or the Diamond Mountain Resort, a popular vacation spot for South Koreans visiting the North.
The official added that humanitarian aid to the North will continue uninterrupted "because it has nothing to do with North Korea’s announcement."