Seoul, May 9 (EFE).- South Korean President Moon Jae-in Monday called for the resumption of inter-Korean talks on his last day in office amid growing tensions on the peninsula after North Korea tested weapons in a renewed urgency this year.
“Peace is a condition of survival for us, a condition of prosperity,” Moon said in his farewell speech.
“I sincerely hope that efforts for denuclearization and institutionalization of peace will continue with the resumption of dialog between the South and the North.”
Hawkish Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative former prosecutor, who has vowed to be less tolerant of Pyongyang, is set to take over from Moon on Tuesday.
Yoon, who will assume the presidency at midnight Monday, has offered talks with the North but at the same time has promised not to give in to the provocations from the neighbor.
In his campaign, Yoon has advocated harsh sanctions on North Korea and supported the development of military technology that would be capable of preemptive strikes on Pyongyang.
Yoon has criticized Moon’s policies toward North Korea as a “complete failure.”
However, the outgoing president praised his government’s work in facilitating dialog with Pyongyang during his five-year term.
The president said he helped transform “a crisis of war on the Korean peninsula,” referring to the exchange of threats of attacks between Pyongyang and Washington in 2017, into “a phase of dialog” that raised hopes for peace and prosperity in the region.
Moon’s role as a mediator was crucial in getting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then-US President Donald Trump to hold a series of summits in 2018.
Moon held three historic summits with Kim to make peace between the two Koreas.
However, the peace talks between the US and North Korea broke down in 2019, causing the North to break contact with Seoul and Washington.
Tensions have spiked since the failed summit between Kim and Trump in Hanoi three years ago.
North Korea has conducted as many as 15 weapons tests this year. These include the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Experts say North Korea is most likely to carry out its first nuclear test since 2017 this month. EFE