Conflicts & War

Moon seeks to resume dialog with Pyongyang in last year in office

Seoul, May 10 (EFE).- South Korea’s president pledged Monday to resume talks with North Korea, which have been stalled since 2019.

“We will restore dialog between the two Koreas and between the United States and North Korea and find a way to step once again toward peaceful cooperation by more closely coordinating policies toward North Korea,” Moon Jae-in said in a speech to mark the fourth anniversary of him taking office.

“I will consider the remaining one year of my term to be the last opportunity to move from an incomplete peace toward one that is irreversible,” said the president, referring to talks with North Korea that began in 2018 and have been stalled since the Hanoi summit.

At that summit in February 2019, Washington refused to lift sanctions on the North because it considered the North Korean disarmament offer insufficient.

The new United State government led by Joe Biden has just concluded a review of its policy with Pyongyang that seeks to be an alternate to the “all or nothing” policy of former President Donald Trump and the policy of “strategic patience” of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Moon, who is not eligible to run for a second term and will leave office on May 9, 2022, welcomed the new strategy which he said “aims to achieve the primary goal of the Korean Peninsula’s complete denuclearization through diplomacy with a flexible, gradual and practical approach by building upon the foundation of the Singapore Declaration,” signed by Washington and Pyongyang in 2018.

In that declaration, the two countries pledged to establish new ties and work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

“Although the complete picture of the US policy toward North Korea has not been revealed, it can be said that it almost matches the direction our government wants,” Moon said at a press conference after his address.

Washington’s continued denunciation of human rights abuses by the North Korean regime seems to be its biggest point of disagreement with Seoul, where Moon’s advisers have defended the need to put the matter aside until dialog is restored and peace is secured.

The matter could be discussed at the summit to be held between Moon and US President Joe Biden in Washington next week.

North Korea recently lashed out against allegations of fundamental rights abuses levelled by Biden, but Moon said on Monday that he does not consider Pyongyang’s reaction to be a rejection of dialog and hoped that the regime will “respond positively” to Washington’s new approach. EFE


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