Moon appeals for resumption of inter-Korean dialogue in farewell speech

Outgoing South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday appealed for the resumption of inter-Korean dialogue as he delivered a farewell address on his last day in office amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang’s repeated tests of weapons.

“Peace is a condition of survival for us, a condition of prosperity,” Moon said.

“I sincerely hope that efforts for denuclearization and institutionalization of peace will continue with the resumption of dialogue between the South and the North.”

Taking a look back on his five years as President, he touted his role for converting the 2017 crisis, when North Korea conducted a nuclear test and fired ICBMs, into dialogue and diplomacy, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Moon said he turned a “crisis of war on the Korean Peninsula” in 2017 into a “phase of dialogue”, and it raised hopes for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.

Moon, who met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un three times in 2018, put his top priority on engaging with Pyongyang, and brokered summits between Kim and former US President Donald Trump.

Since the second summit between Kim and Trump ended without a deal, North Korea has shunned talks on its nuclear weapons programme. So far this year, North Korea has carried out 15 rounds of weapons testing, including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

As for the new government of incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol, Moon said he hopes it will “continue the successful history of the Republic of Korea by inheriting and developing accumulated achievements of previous governments”.

“I put down a heavy burden as President. Now, I go back to the life of an ordinary citizen and pray for the happiness of all people.”

During the 10-minute speech, Moon also listed some of the achievements of his government, including anti-pandemic measures that have brought Covid-19 under control, an economic recovery from the pandemic and an initiative on carbon neutrality.

Later in the day, Moon is scheduled to hold meetings with Singaporean President Halimah Yacob and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, who are visiting Seoul to attend the inauguration ceremony of Yoon on Tuesday.

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