SEOUL, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday urged South Korea to lift economic sanctions and cancel the scheduled military drills with the United States, calling for improved inter-Korean relations.
The DPRK's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland was quoted by local media as saying in a statement that it is unshakable for Pyongyang to get willing to take the opportunity of the Aug. 15 Independence Day to open a new phase in relations between the two Koreas.
Friday will mark the 69th anniversary of Korea's independence from the Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.
The statement urged South Korea to alter its DPRK policy, calling for withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Korean peninsula, the stop of Seoul's reliance on external powers, the implementation of inter-Korean agreements and the end of hostile acts such as the joint military exercise with the U.S. and the so- called May 24 sanctions.
The statement came as part of the DPRK's efforts to make clear its stance on overall inter-Korean relations, before responding to South Korea's proposal on Monday for holding senior-level talks next week.
The committee demanded that the two Koreas end hostile acts and take realistic actions to eliminate barriers to reconciliation, unity and reunification.
It urged South Korea to lift the May 24 sanctions, saying the South authorities should immediately withdraw the unjustifiable institutional tools that have been shutting off the channel of exchange and cooperation between the two Koreas.
The May 24 sanctions were imposed by Seoul in 2010 when the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan sank near the disputed western sea border, banning all inter-Korean exchanges except for the joint factory park in Kaesong, the DPRK's southwestern border town.
The Seoul-led multinational investigation team claimed the sinking was caused by the DPRK's torpedo attack, but Pyongyang repeatedly denied its involvement in the 2010 incident, which claimed lives of 46 sailors.
The statement also called on South Korea to cancel the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) joint military drill with the U.S., scheduled for this month, saying that overcoming the abnormality on the Korean peninsula should start from the U.S. ruling of South Korea.