South Korea’s defence ministry on Wednesday also said the North was deliberately misinterpreting Seoul’s objectives and remarks by its officials and told Pyongyang to stop its verbal attacks on Lee.
But on Thursday, Pyongyang continued with its rhetoric, accusing Seoul of driving inter-Korean relations to “catastrophe”.
February 25 Lee Myung-bak takes office as South Korean president. Promises to end unconditional aid to North, saying Pyongyang must improve human rights and return Southerners held since the 1950-53 Korean War
March 26 South Korean military chief tells MPs military will strike suspected nuclear weapons site in North if Pyongyang attempts to attack South with atomic bombs
South Korean foreign ministry says it will back a UN resolution condemning North’s human rights record, ending a decade of reluctance by previous administrations
March 27 Pyongyang expels South Koreans working at joint industrial zone in the North
March 28 North Korea test-fires missiles into sea and warns it will “mercilessly wipe out” any South Korean warships that violate its waters
March 29 North warns inter-Korean reconciliation may be in jeopardy, implements ban on South Korean officials entering the country
March 31 North Korea threatens to turn the South to “ashes” after South’s warning of pre-emptive strike in response to nuclear attack
April 1 North accuses South Korean president of being US stooge and causing instability on peninsula
April 2 South’s defence ministry tells North to stop verbal attacks in first official response
“South Korea‘s conservative regime is driving the north-south relations to confrontation and catastrophe, blatantly swimming against the trend of the era of independence, reunification, peace and prosperity,” a spokesman for the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland said in a statement.
It said the Korean peninsula was on the brink of another war because of reckless anti-North confrontational policies by the US and its South Korean “followers”.
The North has called Lee a “conservative political charlatan”, “traitor” and sycophant of the US for his tougher policies on the North, which includes linking aid to nuclear disarmament.