President Moon Jae-in asked for opposition support for his upcoming inter-Korean summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, holding a rare meeting with the head of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party on Friday.
“As the inter-Korean summit begins, healthy advice from the opposition bloc is desirable, but it is not desirable to deny the summit,” Moon was quoted as saying by Han Byung-do, Moon’s top secretary for political affairs.
President Moon Jae-in and Liberty Korea Party leader Hong Joon-pyo held a meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.(Yonhap)
The meeting between Moon and Liberty Korea Party leader Hong Joon-pyo was held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae at 2:30 p.m. and lasted about 80 minutes, according to the Cheong Wa Dae official.
“We don’t oppose the inter-Korean summit and North Korea-US summit. But the summit should result in dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program,” Hong said, adding that the government must not repeat past mistakes, according to Han.
Moon is set to meet the North Korean leader on April 27 for what would be the third inter-Korean summit. It is set to be followed by a historic North Korea-US summit in May or early June.
The official said that Moon and Hong had “candid” conversation on diplomacy and security surrounding the Korean Peninsula. Moon mostly listened to Hong when he raised issues about domestic politics.
During the talks, Hong reiterated his party‘s opposition to a step-by-step approach to denuclearizing North Korea, which it has denounced as allowing the reclusive state to buy time to advance its nuclear program.
Cheong Wa Dae backs the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea, but takes the position that the denuclearization process should be implemented in a phased manner.
Hong had opposed the easing of sanctions against North Korea until the North’s nuclear weapons program is completely dismantled, according to the conservative party chief who later briefed reporters in the National Assembly.
Hong also said he had demanded Seoul take a “Libya-style” approach to the North’s denuclearization within a span of six months to a year before any incentives could be given. Washington is seen as being on the same page.
Hong said he had voiced concerns that the Moon administration has undermined the South Korea-US bonds, asking the president to take measures to strengthen the alliance.
On political issues, Hong demanded the president withdraw his proposal for a constitutional revision and his pick of new Financial Supervisory Service chief Kim Ki-sik, who is under fire for a series of alleged missteps during his stint as a lawmaker.
By Ock Hyun-ju (firstname.lastname@example.org)