South Korea’s Moon vows to restore dialogue with North

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ANKARA (AA) – South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in vowed Monday to restore dialogue with North Korea, saying “it is the aspiration of 80 million Koreans to end the era of confrontation and conflict on the Korean Peninsula.”

In a special address to mark his four years in office, Moon said: “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.”

Moon’s five-year term as South Korea’s president ends next year.

“If there is a will, there is a way,” he said, referring to restoring ties with Pyongyang, a statement from his office said.

The two Koreas have not seen any tangible reconciliation efforts in the recent past as relations have been marred by a trust deficit, with Pyongyang accusing Seoul of bowing to Washington.

There has also been a breakdown of negotiations over denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula between North Korea and the US, despite former President Donald Trump holding two meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Now, the time for long deliberations is also coming to an end. It is time to take action. The new [Joe] Biden administration in the United States has also completed reviewing its North Korea policy,” Moon said.

Seoul “welcomes the direction of the Biden administration’s North Korea policy, said the South Korean president. He added that it 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.”

Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June 2018 followed by a summit between the two in the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea a year later.

Moon is set to visit Washington for a summit with his US counterpart later this month.

“The ROK-US alliance will be solidified through the bilateral summit…We will restore dialogue 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,” said Moon.

“I will not be pressed by time or become impatient during the remainder of my term,” he added. “I look forward to North Korea responding positively.”