Marking the second anniversary of the Panmunjom Declaration on Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the COVID-19 crisis could be a new opportunity for the promotion of inter-Korean cooperation and it is the most urgent and desperate task for now. “We cannot just wait until conditions improve,” said President Moon, expressing his willingness to accelerate his drive for inter-Korean engagement in the latter half of his presidency. This is his first message to North Korea amid the rumors surrounding the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continuing to swirl.
“If we don’t forget that it’s us who make our own fate on the Korean Peninsula, the road will be opened,” said President Moon during a meeting with his chief aides on Monday. “We will be able to widen the narrow road. The government will seek the most realistic and practical ways for inter-Korean cooperation.”
“It was never a lack of will but international limitations that prevented us from speeding up the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration,” said President Moon. “We need to continue to practice even the smallest things we can do.” His remarks can be interpreted that he will actively engage in inter-Korean projects in the latter half of his presidency by broadening the scope of exceptions within the framework of sanctions against North Korea led by the international society.
“I will promote the future of ‘peace economy’ based on confidence between Chairman Kim and me and our firm resolve towards peace,” said the president, mentioning Chairman Kim three times during the meeting. But he did not say anything about the possible ill health of the North Korean leader. The South Korean government officially announced Monday that it will reconnect the 110.9-kilometer railway between Gangneung and Jejin in 53 years by holding a ceremony celebrating the Donghae Norther Line reconstruction project by investing 2.85 trillion won.
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