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S. Korea undaunted by troubles in peace journey, minister says

South Korea's unification minister on Sunday pledged to make unswerving efforts for inter-Korean peace despite "difficulties" two days after Pyongyang said it will never talk with Seoul again.

The minister, Kim Yeon-chul, stressed that Seoul's initiative for a "peace economy" is aimed at bringing gains to both South and North Korea amid mutual security assurances. He was delivering a congratulatory message for a peace concert organized by the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation (KCRC) and KBS, a Seoul-based public broadcaster.

"Although there are still difficulties (for us) to meet in the journey for peace, (we) will eventually make peace a solid reality by overcoming every kind of predicament and challenge with our determination, wisdom and capability," Kim said.

Minister Kim Yeon-chul (Yonhap)
Minister Kim Yeon-chul (Yonhap)

He added the government will do its best for the peace economy to be helpful to sustainable peace and people's lives.

Delivering a speech for the Aug. 15 Liberation Day, President Moon Jae-in again emphasized the need for a peace economy for regional prosperity.

He cited the huge economic potential expected when the two Koreas join hands together.

Moon said, "I pledge to solidify the foundation so that we can successfully host the joint 2032 Seoul-Pyongyang Olympics and stand tall in the world as one Korea by achieving peace and unification by 2045, which will mark the 100th anniversary of liberation."

The following day, however, North Korea vowed not to sit down with South Korea for talks again and criticized Moon.

"As it will be clear, we have nothing more to talk about with South Korean authorities and we have no desire to sit down with them again," the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country said in a statement. It's tasked with handling inter-Korean affairs.

Pyongyang has condemned Seoul for its ongoing joint military drills with Washington.

The communist nation also appears to be displeased with the Moon administration's cautious stance on the issue of resuming inter-Korean economic projects such as the Kaesong industrial complex and Mount Kumgang tour program amid a lack of substantive progress in denuclearization talks.

The North fired two projectiles into the East Sea on Friday in the latest of its missile and rocket system tests. (Yonhap)