SEOUL – North Korea strongly criticized on Tuesday the burning of its national flag and photos of its leader Kim Jong-un during a protest rally against its planned participation in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang in South Korea.
In an article published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang accused South Korean conservatives of unscrupulously “letting out reckless remarks chilling the hardly-won atmosphere of improved inter-Korean relations.”
The article also accused leaders of the Korean Patriots Party, a far-right party that burned North Korean flags and leader Kim Jong-un’s photos during Monday’s rally, of leading these acts that they described as unforgivable atrocities.
The article also dismissed claims by these groups that the North agreed to participate in the games to buy itself time to complete its nuclear program, disrupt the South Korea-US alliance and find a way out of United Nations imposed economic sanctions.
South Korea’s presidential office on Tuesday also released a statement seeking public support for North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Games, and reiterated president Moon Jae-in’s position that it will bring about stability and peace on the Korean peninsula.
The statement urged that the North’s delegation for the Games, which are scheduled to begin on Feb. 9, be welcomed warmly into the country.
Tension between North and South Korea – which have technically remained at war for more than 65 years – have escalated over the last two years owing to repeated weapons tests by North Korea.
After two years of suspended talks and no diplomatic contact, the two countries earlier this month agreed to march under the same flag for the winter Olympics and to hold military dialogues in the future to avoid border friction.