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Unification Ministry: S. Korea can offer bold proposals for N. Korea

Unification Ministry: S. Korea can offer bold proposals for N. Korea

Posted July. 23, 2022 07:33,   

Updated July. 23, 2022 07:33


President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Friday, "I hope that realistic measures will be thoroughly prepared for the bold proposals in return if North Korea accepts substantial denuclearization." President Yoon gave this directive on the same day when he received a report from Unification Minister Kwon Young-se. In his inaugural address in May, President Yoon said, "I will prepare bold plans to dramatically improve the North Korean economy and the lives of North Koreans."

According to the Unification Ministry, the "bold plans" mentioned by President Yoon include economic cooperation and security measures for North Korea. "Isn't it a security issue that North Korea uses as a justification in the process of developing nuclear weapons?,” a ministry official said. “That is why we plan to include not only economic support for North Korea, but also a plan to address security concerns that (North Korea) has expressed concerns about. We plan to include to a degree where the North Korean regime won’t feel the need for nuclear development and present it.” As a security guarantee, the signing of a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula, building military trust, and arms control, etc. are considered to be comprehensively reviewed.

However, the government is not in a hurry, because North Korea has not yet stopped provocations, and these measures are a 'step-by-step' implementation approach leading to a denuclearization end goal. "It is a step-by-step, simultaneous implementation of denuclearization and corresponding measures, not a preemptive denuclearization or a big deal solution,” Minister Kwon also reported to President Yoon on the day. In this report, no special instructions or comments from President Yoon regarding the 'repatriation of North Korean fishermen defectors to North Korea' are known to be made.

On the same day, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup also reported to the president. In his report, it was announced that the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian (UFG) combined exercise, which was suspended at the end of 2017, was renamed Ulchi-Freedom Shield (UFS), meaning ‘shield of freedom,’ and will be revived starting the second half of next month. It also includes the decision to resume the joint outdoor maneuver exercise at the regiment level or higher from next year, which had been suspended under the former Moon Jae-in administration in consideration of inter-Korean relations. "In the first and second half of every year, the combined aircraft carrier strike group training in which U.S. aircraft carriers participate and the large-scale amphibious training of the ROK and US Marines will be intensively conducted,” a military official said.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the number of high-power and ultra-precision missiles such as the Hyunmoo-4 capable of striking the entire region of North Korea will be increased, and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) capabilities, such as the penetration and strike capabilities of special warfare units, will be expanded.

President Yoon directed Minister Lee to “make every effort to rigorously and efficiently construct a missile defense system to address the North Korean nuclear threat, and at the same time, work towards achieving a salary of 2 million won or more (by 2025) for the servicemen and women, which was the presidential campaign promise.”

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com