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Assembly speaker urges NK to engage in dialogue

Park says South Korea’s lawmakers willing to ratify inter-Korean summit agreement

National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug (Yonhap)
National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug (Yonhap)
National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug said he hoped North Korea would take a proactive role in inter-Korean dialogue, stressing that South Korea’s National Assembly was considering the ratification of the inter-Korean summit agreement.

“The Korea-US summit was an important achievement,” said Park on Monday at a press meeting. “The position of South Korea in relation to the peace process on the Korean Peninsula is evaluated to have been well reflected.

“It was good that (the leaders) decided to resolve the (North Korean) issue through diplomatic dialogue based on prior agreements,” Park said.

In a joint statement announced after the summit, US President Joe Biden said he would deal with the North Korean issue based on existing agreements, including the 2018 Panmunjom Declaration and the Singapore-US joint statement.

“North Korea, which has been silent for long, made its first official opinion through a plenary session. It is believed that it would engage in dialogue emphasizing stable management of the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

Park was responding to a statement from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last week, in which Kim said the North would manage the situation on the Korean Peninsula in a stable manner after analyzing the Biden administration’s policy toward the North.

“I hope this opportunity will be a starting point for inter-Korean peace,” Park said.

Park said one reason that the inter-Korean summit agreement had not borne fruit as expected was that it had not been ratified by the National Assembly.

“However, now the majority of lawmakers hope for inter-Korean peace. As the National Assembly is deeply considering the ratification of the inter-Korean summit agreement, North Korea should also take a proactive role in inter-Korean dialogue,” he said.

On Thursday, 180 lawmakers from the ruling bloc, including the Democratic Party of Korea, the Justice Party, the Open Democratic Party and the Basic Income Party, urged the government to submit for ratification the agreement that resulted from the inter-Korean joint declaration, and promised to follow the relevant procedures at the National Assembly.

Park said the National Assembly was also making preparations for inter-Korean parliamentary talks through an inter-Korean assembly meeting advisory committee formed this year.

The committee held its first meeting in January and sought the National Assembly’s active role and specific measures to promote inter-Korean parliamentary talks and establish sustainable inter-Korean relations.

Park also asked for Russia’s help to convince North Korea to pursue inter-Korean parliamentary talks when he visited the nation in May and met with House Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)

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