DPRK warns S. Korean ex-first lady's visit not fully confirmed

Updated: 2015-07-08 23:31


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PYONGYANG -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) warned Seoul on Wednesday that the Pyongyang visit of Lee Hee-ho, widow of the Republic of Korea (ROK)'s ex-President Kim Dae-jung, "has not been fully confirmed" and that Seoul should stop making provocations if it expects the visit to come true.

The Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee of the DPRK in a statement accused South Korean authorities of letting media outlets distribute "misinformation" regarding Lee's visit.

According to the statement, ROK local media said it was the North's leadership that proposed that Lee travel by air to show off the newly completed terminal No.2 of Pyongyang International Airport, though Lee herself suggested visiting by land.

"This is an unpardonable serious provocation against the DPRK," the statement said, adding that the rhetoric has brought to light the South's "intention to stand in confrontation with the DPRK to the last" and unwillingness to improve inter-Korean ties.

The statement clarified that the DPRK side has already told the Kim Dae-jung Peace Center that it would be better for Lee to visit by plane because the Pyongyang-Kaesong highway is under repair, which could cause inconvenience.

Pyongyang warned in the statement that "the hard-won opportunity may be ruined" if Seoul persistently hurts the dignity of the DPRK leadership and makes provocations against it.

Lee's successful visit to Pyongyang depends on the behavior of the ROK authorities, it said.

Lee is scheduled to start a four-day visit to the DPRK on Aug. 5. Her trip was proposed in late 2014 by top leader Kim Jong Un, who invited her to Pyongyang as a gesture of gratitude after Lee sent a wreath of flowers to mark the third anniversary of the death of late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il.