President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday said that the development of South-North Korean relations is “not an additional outcome of development in North Korea-U.S. ties” but is the “driving force that promotes denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Speaking at a ceremony in central Seoul marking Korea’s independence from the 1910-1945 Japanese colonial rule, the president said that "true liberation" can only be achieved when the two countries establish a lasting peace and economic community.
Stressing the importance of recognition that South Koreans are the “protagonists” in Korean Peninsula-related issues, the president said he will visit Pyongyang next month to “take an audacious step to proceed toward the declaration of an end to the Korean War and the signing of a peace treaty as well as the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” He went on to say, “I will help build a relationship based on deeper trust between the two Koreas and simultaneously lead efforts to promote dialogue on denuclearization between North Korea and the United States.”
However, there are growing voices in the United States expressing concerns. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said hours before the South Korean president’s speech that Washington’s “main focus is on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
The British daily Financial Times reported that South Korea’s economic integration plan with North risks U.S. “ire,” saying that the plan is likely to” raise eyebrows in the U.S., which has remained steadfast about maintaining stringent sanctions on Pyongyang in an attempt to coerce the regime to abandon its nuclear weapons.”
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