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Unification minister implies Pope’s visit to Pyongyang

Unification minister implies Pope’s visit to Pyongyang

Posted November. 05, 2021 07:32,   

Updated November. 05, 2021 07:32


South Korean Unification Minister Lee In-young on Thursday expressed his expectations of the resumption of dialogue between the two Koreas and between Washington and Pyongyang, saying that North Korea specifies messages to Washington and Seoul.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s remarks on a declaration of end of war have great significance, said a high-ranking Cheong Wa Dae official who accompanied South Korean President Moon Jae-in on his tour visit to the European region. With President Moon nearing the end of his term, the South Korean government seems to use all tools available at its disposal to bring Pyongyang back to dialogue.

“Pyongyang has sent more messages to Washington and Seoul since the second half of this year compared to the first half,” Minister Lee said in a radio interview with KBS “It is worth checking if it has any intention to lean toward a dialogue front.”

“If North Korea makes up its mind, there is a clear possibility of Pope Francis visiting Pyongyang,” said the minister calling on the North to respond.

A high-ranking official of Cheong Wa Dae said on Wednesday (local time) to the press in Hungary, the last destination of President Moon’s tour in Europe, that he sees some meaning in Pyongyang’s response to a declaration of end of war. “It is the first time for the North Korean leader to make remarks on an end-of-war declaration in an official setting,” said the official. “Seoul should figure out how to resume negotiations with Pyongyang based on the related agreement forged by Washington and Seoul.”

The North Korean leader said in the 5th meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly on Sept. 29, “Hostile acts will never end with the seeds of mistrust and confrontation left unaddressed even if we agree to end the war,” making it clear that not any declaration of end of war will be rendered meaningful if Washington and Seoul maintain their policy and a double standard toward Pyongyang. As such, there is a significant gap in standpoints of Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang. Nevertheless, the South Korean government seems to have heightened expectations of the resumption of dialogue while adding some meaning to Kim’s mere mentioning of an end-of-war declaration.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com