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Pres. Moon says Kim’s apology is meaningful

Posted September. 29, 2020 07:45,   

Updated September. 29, 2020 07:45


“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s apology to South Korean citizens holds special meaning,” said President Moon Jae-in speaking of the killing of a South Korean official of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. “I hope it will help improve the inter-Korean relations.” He then made an apology for the incident for the first time, saying, “The government regrets that it happened as it is the government’s role to protect its citizens under any circumstances.”

President Moon said in a meeting with his advisors at the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae that it is rare that a North Korean leader makes a prompt apology himself. It was the first time he mentioned the killing that happened last Tuesday.

“I could feel that Kim understood the gravity and seriousness of the incident and did not want the inter-Korean relations to worsen,” Moon said. “The resolving of this issue can be a starting point to a dialogue and cooperation between the two nations.” He then went on to say, “The North Korean authorities sent a notice the day after we demanded responsible replies and actions, making an apology and promising to prevent a recurrence.” The South Korean president said it showed the North did not want the bilateral relations to pass the point of no return before requesting the resumption of military hotlines.

However, some criticize the word choices Moon made such as “special meaning,” “rare,” and “I could feel,” pointing out that North Korea threatened South Korea on Sunday while calling the search operations an omen.

President Moon also said on the same day that the history of conflicts and tragedies should come to an end. It is seen as reaffirmation of his commitment to declaring the end of the Korean War, which was also mentioned in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Hyung-Jun Hwang constant25@donga.com · Ji-Hyun Kim jhk85@donga.com