‘Seoul to find way for restored inter-Korean, Pyongyang-US talks’

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday that his government will seek to find a way for restored talks between Seoul and Pyongyang and between North Korea and the US.

“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 said in a televised address to mark the fourth inauguration anniversary of his five-year tenure.

He took office in May 2017, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It is time to take action,” Moon said hailing US President Joe Biden’s North Korean policy, which he said aimed to “achieve the primary goal of the Korean Peninsula’s complete denuclearization via diplomacy with a flexible, gradual and practical approach by building upon the foundation of the Singapore Declaration”.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former US President Donald Trump held their first summit in Singapore in June 2018, agreeing to the complete denuclearization of and the lasting peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula.

Denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington have been stalled since the second Kim-Trump summit ended without agreement in February 2019 in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

Moon is scheduled to visit Washington for summit talks with Biden on May 21 in a bid to restore the deadlocked dialogue between the two Koreas and between Pyongyang and Washington.

“We (he and Biden) 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,” Moon said.

“If there is an opportunity to restart the clock of peace and advance the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, I will do everything I can. I look forward to North Korea responding positively.

“We have seen clear potential for issues to be solved diplomatically,” the president said, citing the three inter-Korean summits and the two North Korea-US summits during his tenure that failed to achieve a complete success but maintained peace.

“If we make a little more effort, the issue will be able to be solved through diplomacy. I found a possibility for and had confidence in the Korean Peninsula’s complete denuclearization and the lasting peace settlement,” he added.

Following Biden’s first Congressional speech in which the he called North Korea’s nuclear program a “serious threat”, Pyongyang warned earlier this month that Washington will “face a worsening crisis” if it holds on to the outdated hostile policy.

Moon said he did not interpret the North Korean response as a refusal to dialogue.

He said the prolonged dialogue deadlock will never be desirable, adding that his concern was shared by the Biden administration, which rapidly established its North Korean policy through close coordination and consultations with Seoul.