Opposition leader slams Moon's NK policy, calls for consistency

By Catherine Chung
  • Published : Aug 8, 2017 - 10:51
  • Updated : Aug 8, 2017 - 11:19
The floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party on Tuesday bashed President Moon Jae-in's two-pronged approach of sanctions and dialogue toward North Korea, saying it is sending a wrong signal to the increasingly provocative regime.

Chung Woo-taik made the remarks amid concerns that Pyongyang's hard stance and missile tests have blunted the momentum for Moon's initiative to re-engage with Pyongyang through dialogue, seek its denuclearization and build a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"Our government is sending a wrong signal as it is, on one hand, talking about sanctions and pressure, while on the other hand, begging for dialogue," Chung said during a meeting with senior party officials.

"In search for the fundamental solution to the North's nuclear program, President Moon has to express a consistent stance towards the North and international community," he added.

Chung Woo-taik (C), the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, speaks during a meeting with senior party officials at the National Assembly in Seoul on Aug. 8, 2017. (Yonhap)

During his phone talks with US President Donald Trump on Monday, Moon stressed the need to apply sanctions and pressure until the North renounces its nuclear ambitions, while staking out his stance for a "peaceful and diplomatic" solution to the nuclear conundrum.

The main opposition party has recently redoubled its call for a review of Moon's policy, stressing Pyongyang's tests last month of an intercontinental ballistic missile call for tougher countermeasures.

It, in particular, demanded that the government seek the redeployment of US tactical nuclear arms and achieve a nuclear "balance of power" with the wayward neighbor. The US nuclear arsenal was withdrawn from the peninsula after the two Koreas adopted a joint declaration for a nuclear-free peninsula in 1991. 

Meanwhile, the minor People's Party raised concerns that Moon's dialogue overture runs counter to the international community's focus on sanctions. It also called for closer cooperation with the United States, China and other major countries, stressing the need to dispel concerns that South Korea could be sidelined in global discussions over the North's denuclearization.

"We are concerned about whether (the Moon government) is caught in the groundless collective belief that if it extends its hand to the North, the North would grab it," Lee Un-joo, the party's vice floor leader, said during a party meeting. (Yonhap)