Yoon doesn’t want North Korea status quo changed ‘by force’

Seoul, Aug 17 (EFE).- South Korea’s president said Wednesday that, although he cannot grant security guarantees to North Korea, he does not want the status quo in the neighboring country to be changed “unreasonably or by force.”

Yoon Suk-yeol‘s conciliatory message for Pyongyang at a press conference marking 100 days in office came a day after he offered economic assistance to the North if it chose to denuclearize.

“Guaranteeing regime security is not something the Republic of Korea (South Korea’s official name) government can do. But neither I nor the Republic of Korea government wants the status quo changed unreasonably or by force in North Korea,” Yoon said.

Asked about the possibility of an inter-Korean summit, Yoon said that “talks between the leaders of the South and the North and talks and negotiations between key working-level officials should not be a political show but helpful to the actual establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.”

The remark seems to allude to the rapprochement between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington during the previous liberal government of Moon Jae-in.

Seoul and Pyongyang held three presidential summits between 2018 and 2019 and reached an agreement to reduce military tensions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former United States President Donald Trump also held three meetings aimed at achieving the denuclearization of the peninsula.

However, the failure of the summit between the US and North Korea held in February 2019 in Hanoi put an end to this process, which has been criticized by many for failing to make real progress in achieving peace in the region.

“Only if we propose an agenda first can we wait for the other side’s response, and only then will it be possible to have meaningful meetings or talks necessary for the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula,” said Yoon, whose approval rating is at 27 percent.

North Korea has been cut-off from the outside world since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020 and has carried out a record number of missile tests this year after approving a weapons modernization plan last year.

The regime has rejected medical aid and offers of dialogue from Washington and Seoul – which are in turn responding with an “extended deterrence” and plan to carry out major drills next week.

Pyongyang has also allegedly completed preparations to carry out its first nuclear test in five years. EFE


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