North Korea Warns South Against Depending on 'Outsiders' Ahead of Meeting

North Korea has warned U.S.-backed South Korea against depending on outside forces ahead of a historic third inter-Korean summit in one year set for next month.

In an article published Monday, the official Korean Central News Agency lauded ongoing peace talks marked by the Panmunjom Declaration, signed by North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during their first meeting in April. Additionally, the agency hailed a follow-up visit between the two men in May as further evidence that ending the neighbors' decades-long conflict was possible. The state-run outlet warned, however, that the dialogue's progress may be hampered if the two rivals looked to other countries for help.

"It is the fixed stand of the DPRK [the Democratic People's Republic of Korea] that the Korean nation is fully responsible for the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration under any circumstances," the agency wrote. "The improvement of the north-south relations related to the destiny of the nation is not one to be settled with the approval of someone.

"It is a bitter lesson in the checkered history of north-south relations that dependence on the outsiders to help settle the issue of the north-south ties will result in leaving the destiny of the nation to the tender mercy of outsiders and tightening the noose of subordination around the necks of Koreans," it added.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart Ri Son Gwon at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone, North Korea, August 13. North and South Korea officials have met at a historic rate in recent months, but concerns have been raised on both sides as to the actual progress of such discussions. Yonhap News Agency/Reuters

Following a tense year for North Korean relations with its Cold War-era foes South Korea and the U.S., Kim reached out to launch a series of talks that have since evolved into a full-fledged peace process involving both Moon and, for the first time ever, President Donald Trump himself. Kim has vowed the nuclear weapons Pyongyang has long viewed as vital to its survival in the face of perceived U.S. aggression and, in exchange, Washington has said it would guarantee the young North Korean ruler's security and lift sanctions.

North Korea has frozen live-fire weapons testing, destroyed and begun dismantling key military sites, released U.S. prisoners and returned U.S. military remains. Nevertheless, Washington has argued that sanctions would not be lifted until Kim's nuclear weapons program was completely shuttered. North Korea has also called on the U.S. and South Korea to immediately declare an end to a 1950s war that concluded in a ceasefire, but no formal treaty.

Moon was set to visit North Korea to meet Kim for a third time next month and, in a move the South Korean president called "audacious" during a speech Wednesday, Moon said he would take further steps to officially end the Korean War. He also said he would work toward unifying the two neighbor's economies, infrastructures and industries.

Prior to Kim's first meeting with Moon in Panmunjom in April, leaders from Pyongyang and Seoul had only met on two prior occasions—in 2000 and 2007. The former saw the signing of a joint declaration in which both parties "agreed to solve the question of the country's reunification independently by the concerted efforts of the Korean nation responsible for it."

On Monday, the two Koreas hosted a rare reunion for family members separated by the war. The reunions are part of the Panmunjom Declaration reached in April and both sides have called for closer coordination on humanitarian issues.

North Korea Warns South Against Depending on 'Outsiders' Ahead of Meeting | World