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South Korea urged North Korea on Monday to stop trying to split public opinion in the South by attempting to involve South Korean civic organizations in an inter-Korean event while shunning dialogue with the South Korean government.
"It's worrisome as it causes conflicts among South Koreans," Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung Seok said in a statement.
The statement follows Pyongyang's recent proposal for South Korean civic organizations to jointly commemorate a joint declaration issued at the end of the landmark inter-Korean summit in June 2000.
Last Wednesday, the North's "Committee for Implementing the June 15 Joint Declaration" sent a fax to its South Korean counterpart proposing to hold a joint commemorative ceremony in the North's border town of Kaesong or its Mt. Kumgang resort.
The South Korean committee hailed the North's offer, saying it plans to actively respond to the proposal.
But by issuing Monday's statement, South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North, made clear that it will disallow South Korean participation in the event.
In the statement, Kim also said North Korea should immediately reopen inter-Korean military hot-lines and accept the South's repeated offers for talks on a joint industrial park in Kaesong, where operations were suspended last month.
Bilateral ties have soured in the wake of Pyongyang's rocket launch in December last year and the third nuclear test in February, in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, which led to a tightening of international sanctions.