South Korea still faces many obstacles in its efforts to denuclearize North Korea and establish lasting peace, President Moon Jae-in said Thursday, despite what he and many others have called "exceptional" concessions from the communist state that include a suspension of military provocations.
Moon's remarks came in an annual meeting of a national prayer group, the Korea National Prayer Breakfast.
"A delegation of special envoys returned after a trip to Pyongyang two days ago. It marked a big step toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace. It is an achievement made possible by not just talks between the South and the North but also the United States' strong support," the president said.
The delegation, headed by Moon's top security adviser Chung Eui-yong, earlier said the North has agreed to suspend all its military provocations as long as it was in dialogue with the United States.
|President Moon Jae-in speaks at the 50th National Prayer Breakfast held at the Korea International Exhibition Center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province on Thursday. (Yonhap)|
Seoul and Pyongyang have also agreed to hold what would be a third inter-Korean summit late next month. The widely unexpected concessions came in an unprecedented meeting between the South Korean envoys and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday.
"We have overcome one obstacle, while there exist many before we can reach lasting peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Moon told the prayer meeting, attended by some 5,000 people.
"It is also true that there exist many open wounds within us, caused by long feuds and conflicts," he added.
However, the president said the country must walk the long and arduous path.
"We cannot leave our fate in others' hands. We will lay foundations to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, working closely with the US and the international community while talking with North Korea," Moon said.
Chung and Suh Hoon, head of the National Intelligence Service, were set to head to Washington later in the day to explain the outcome of their trip to Pyongyang, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said earlier.
The special envoys are also scheduled to visit China, Russia and Japan, which are members of the six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
The denuclearization dialogue also involves the two Koreas and the United States. They have been stalled since late 2008. (Yonhap)