World Bulletin / News Desk
With South Korea preparing to mark five years since the sinking of its Cheonan naval ship in the Yellow Sea, North Korea again protested its innocence Tuesday.
Pyongyang's National Defense Commission released a statement ahead of Thursday's anniversary describing Seoul's account as a "fictitious story."
The South Korean government swiftly responded, with the unification ministry reminding reporters that "it was clearly found through an international probe that the Cheonan sinking was done by North Korea" - referring to a South Korean-led investigation incorporating experts from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, and Sweden.
On March 26, 2010, 46 sailors were left dead when their vessel sank near the inter-Korean western sea border - South Korean authorities are adamant that a North Korean torpedo was responsible.
Seoul's retaliation took the form of sanctions known widely as the May 24th Measure, which brought inter-Korean cooperation to a virtual standstill - with the exception of the joint industrial complex at Kaesong.
Now, under a different president, South Korea has offered to lift the sanctions in return for a concession of responsibility from North Korea.
Pyongyang's statement Tuesday reversed the call: "If the South Korean authorities truly wish for the improvement of the North-South relations, they should bear in mind that they have to move first to lift the measure."
2010 witnessed a significant worsening in bilateral ties, as later in the year North Korea openly shelled a South Korean border island, claiming four lives.
The divided peninsula has remained in a state of conflict since the end of the Korean War in 1953, because the two sides never signed a peace treaty.Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Mart 2015, 09:49