Seoul: North Korea on Tuesday rejected a new
unification proposal from South Korea, calling it a
"ridiculous" plan aimed at weakening the North in preparation
for a US-assisted invasion.
On Sunday, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak proposed
a three-stage unification process -- peace and
denuclearisation, economic integration, and an eventual
"community of the Korean nation." Lee also proposed a special
tax to finance the costs of unification.
North Korea criticised the proposal for making nuclear
disarmament in the North a precondition for unification.
"This is nothing but ridiculous rhetoric to force (North
Korea) to disarm itself and realise the ambition for invading
(North Korea) together with the US," the North`s Committee for
Peaceful Reunification said in a statement.
It is "tantamount to a declaration of an all-out
confrontation to bring down the system" in North Korea, said
the statement, carried by the North`s official Korean Central
North Korea also criticised Lee for proposing the
unification tax, saying the idea was "very unsavory" because
it was aimed at preparing for turmoil in the North.
The proposal is "sheer nonsense" because of the ongoing
tensions on the Korean peninsula, the statement said.
Lee made the reunification offer even though relations
between the two Koreas are at their lowest point in years
following the March sinking of a South Korean warship, which
an international investigation blamed on North Korea.
Forty-six sailors died. North Korea denies responsibility.
The tensions deepened yesterday when South Korean and US
troops began annual computerised military drills. The US and
South Korea insist the drills are purely defencive, but North
Korea called them a rehearsal for invasion and pledged to