May 10, 2021 9:28:14 am
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday said he was looking forward to North Korea’s response to engagement efforts as he seeks to restore peace-building amid stalled talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.
Moon’s comments, in a speech marking the fourth year of his presidency, come ahead of his first summit with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington on May 21.
The South Korean president is expected to push the United States to seek engagement with North Korea, though Biden has shown little interest in making North Korea a top priority.
Biden’s administration says its overtures to Pyongyang have not been answered, and it recently completed a policy review that called for a “practical” approach of using diplomacy to find achievable goals toward eventually persuading North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons.
But Biden has shown no sign of loosing sanctions, which have hampered Moon’s efforts to launch economic and tourism projects with the North, and the White House has not appointed a special envoy to handle the issue.
Moon has made engaging with North Korea a signature project and appeared to make progress in 2018 amid summits with leader Kim Jong Un, but as Moon enters his final year in office, Pyongyang shows few signs of interest in talking.
In his speech, Moon said that he wouldn’t be impatient during his final year, but that he would do everything he could to return to the days of engagement.
“If there is an opportunity to turn back the clock of peace again and advance the peace process on the Korean peninsula, I will make all efforts,” he said. “We look forward to North Korea’s response.”
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