Moon: Seoul is ready to hold talks if N. Korea stops provocations

June 15, 2017

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday Seoul is willing to hold talks with North Korea if it stops further nuclear and missile provocations.

In his message to mark the 17th anniversary of the historic inter-Korean summit in 2000, he said Seoul remains ready for comprehensive talks on lasting peace on the peninsula if the North gives up its nuclear programs.

“We will be able to comprehensively discuss complete dismantlement of North Korean nukes and the establishment of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, as well as normalization of North Korea-U.S. relations,” he said.

He noted North Korea has recently called for Seoul to honor and implement inter-Korean summit agreements reached on June 15, 2000, and Oct. 4, 2007.

“But it is North Korea that is saying one thing and doing another, as seen in its continued development of nuclear weapons and missiles,” Moon added.

The president made the remarks at a ceremony marking the 2000 summit which was held in Pyongyang on June 13-15 between the late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and his late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

President Moon said his country was ready and willing to resume its dialogue with the North as soon as it abandons its nuclear ambitions.

“I make it clear that if North Korea stops making additional nuclear and missile provocations, we can come to dialogue with North Korea without conditions,” he said.

The North has carried out five missile tests since the Moon Jae-in administration came into office on May 10.

“North Korea’s nuclear and missile development has become a serious concern that threatens peace and stability in the region and the international community,” Moon told the annual ceremony marking the first-ever inter-Korean summit, according to a script of his speech released by the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

“I use this opportunity to once again urge the North. North Korea must give up its nuclear development and find ways to work with the international community.”

“North Korea’s decision to give up nuclear weapons will be a symbol showing its determination to implement what has been agreed between the South and the North,” he added.

He also offered to help improve the North’s relations with the United States.

“I urge North Korea to act. I am willing to put our knees and heads together and discuss how we will implement the existing agreements between the South and the North,” the president said.

bdk@yna.co.kr

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