President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed Friday his commitment to bringing the US and North Korea to the negotiating table again for nuclear talks, after the two countries ended their summit without a deal.
During a ceremony marking the centennial anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement against Japanese colonial rule, Moon stressed the expanded diplomatic role of South Korea in bridging the gap between Washington and Pyongyang.
“My administration will closely communicate and cooperate with the United States and North Korea so as to help their talks reach complete settlement by any means,” he said.
On Thursday, talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un fell apart as the two sides failed to reach an agreement due to a standoff over US sanctions on the communist state.
President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook walk behind an older version of the national flag to enter a ceremony marking the centennial anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement against Japanese colonial rule, at Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap)
Many observers had expected tangible and concrete progress building upon the statement signed by the two sides during their summit in Singapore last year.
Following the summit, Trump asked Moon to play an active role as a mediator, in a telephone conversation with the South Korean leader.
“Permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula will be firmly settled only after surmounting many critical junctures,” Moon said.
The president also said Trump and Kim took an important step toward the normalization of bilateral ties by discussing the issue of installing liaison offices.
“I believe this is part of a process to reach a higher level of agreement,” he said.
During Friday’s ceremony, where some 10,000 citizens gathered, the president shared his vision for a “new Korean Peninsula regime,” which highlighted the country’s role as a main player in creating a new community of peace and cooperation that will end confrontations and conflict.
“We will establish a permanent peace regime without fail on the basis of our unwavering will, close ROK-US coordination, a settlement in North Korea-US talks and support from the international community,” he said.
In pursuit of a peace-driven economy on the peninsula, he said he will seek ways to resume inter-Korean economic projects, such as tourism in North Korea’s resort on Kumgangsan and operations of the Kaesong industrial park.
“When there is progress in denuclearization, a joint economic committee will be established between the two Koreas to produce economic achievements that benefit both South and North Korea,” he said.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)