Moon urges S. Korea's active role in efforts to denuclearize N. Korea

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday called for South Korea's greater role in diplomacy to denuclearize North Korea and directed the government to step up efforts to improve relations with the communist state.

President Moon Jae-in (second from R) speaks in a policy briefing session held at the government complex in Seoul on Aug. 23, 2017, involving ministers and officials from the foreign and unification ministries. (Yonhap)

President Moon Jae-in (second from R) speaks in a policy briefing session held at the government complex in Seoul on Aug. 23, 2017, involving ministers and officials from the foreign and unification ministries. (Yonhap)

"Our foreign policy is facing various challenges. And the largest challenges and threats of all, of course, are the North Korean nuclear and missile issues," the president said in a policy meeting with officials from the foreign and unification ministries, source from the Yonhap.

"Establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula is a task that is also directly linked to global peace. We must try to more actively resolve the issue through close diplomatic cooperation with China, Japan and Russia, as well as the strong Korea-U.S. alliance," Moon said on the second day of policy briefings from government ministries and offices. The sessions are set to last until next Thursday.

Moon told the government officials to have a sense of ownership when dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue.

"We must approach the issue with a thorough sense of ownership that we, ourselves, must ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula," he said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

He also stressed the importance of improved diplomatic ties with countries that are not directly involved in discussions on ending the North Korean nuclear issue, such as Southeast Asian and Pacific nations, as well as Middle Eastern countries.

The president earlier vowed to upgrade the country's diplomatic ties with those countries to a similar level of those with the world's most advanced and powerful nations, such as the United States and China.

"We must also pursue more dignified diplomacy as a responsible nation that will take part not only in issues related to the Korean Peninsula but other global issues," he said.

Turning to inter-Korean issues, the president urged efforts to improve relations with the reclusive North.

"Right now, South-North relations are at a standstill due to North Korea's provocations, but now is when the unification ministry must prepare for the future. We need to remember the fact that when the North Korean nuclear issue showed signs of resolution and the security conditions on the Korean Peninsula were stably managed was when South-North relations were good," President Moon told the meeting.

"What the unification ministry must especially focus on are ways to realize the new economic plan for the Korean Peninsula," he said, referring to his own initiative that will seek to greatly enhance economic cooperation and exchange between the divided Koreas to help the impoverished North following the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear standoff.

"Once this plan is realized, it will contribute to creating new jobs as our own economy's new growth engine, and also become the foundation for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia."


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