Spotlight On Korea: South Korea’s President Moon Says “Time To Take Action” On North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-In has said that in his final year in office he will work to achieve lasting peace with North Korea.

In a speech marking his fourth and final year as South Korean President, Moon Jae-In said that he sees his final year as president the last opportunity to achieve lasting peace with North Korea, and said it was time to take action regarding the stalled discussions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.

President Moon Jae-In is expected to encourage the United States to seek engagement with North Korea, however U.S. President Joe Biden has shown little interest in continuing what the Trump administration began.

During the speech President Moon Jae-In said: “I will consider the remaining one year of my term to be the last opportunity to move from an incomplete peace toward one that is irreversible,

“Now, the time for long deliberations is also coming to an end. It is time to take action.”

Since 2018 there have been three inter-Korean summits and two North Korea-U.S. summits and while they did not solve the many issues involving the two Koreas, President Moon said they helped defuse tension and maintain peace, and proved that diplomacy was essential.

“If there is an opportunity to restart the clock of peace and advance the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, I will do everything I can,” President Moon said. “I look forward to North Korea responding positively.”

The Biden administration has said its overtures to Pyongyang have not been answered and a recently completed policy review called for a “practical”, achievable approach to find a way for North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons.

However, the Biden administration shows no signs of loosening its sanctions on North Korea which have in-turn impeded President Moon’s efforts in launching economic and tourism projects with their Northern cousins.

Furthermore, the White House has yet to appoint a special envoy to deal with the North and South Korea issue.

President Moon himself was born to North Korean refugees, originally from Hungnam, and was raised in poverty in the southern city of Busan which makes this endeavour to reunite the two Koreas all the more personal.

It is also important to note that, like the rest of the world, both Koreas have been preoccupied with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Photo credit for feature image: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images

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