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South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech at the National Assembly in the capital, Seoul, June 12, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says Seoul and Washington should offer concessions to North Korea if Pyongyang meets their demand on a temporary halt to its nuclear program before it ultimately dismantles that program.
“Without rewarding North Korea for its bad actions, South Korea and the United States should closely consult what they may give the North in return for a nuclear freeze,” Moon said while he on board a flight to the US on Wednesday.
He added that in order to resolve the escalating crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Seoul and Washington, with certain conditions, had to enter into “dialog” with the North.
“At least, North Korea should restrain itself from further nuclear and missile tests and promise a nuclear freeze before full-fledged dialog for nuclear dismantlement can start,” he said.
He also described the so-called “nuclear freeze” as the fundamental pre-condition for negotiations, adding that “the exit of the dialog is a complete nuclear dismantlement.”
Liberal Moon, unlike his ousted predecessor, conservative Park Geun-hye, who took a hardline stance against the North, is known to adopt a softer stance and favor engagement with Pyongyang to bring it to the negotiating table.
Last Saturday, Moon invited North Korea to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Pyeongchang County, in South Korea, arguing that the move would likely ease the tensions on the peninsula. He even suggested that the two neighbors had to pool their athletes to create joint teams for the games in order to achieve better performance.
However, Moon may have a hard time convincing the US President Donald Trump administration, which has taken a tough stance toward Pyongyang.
Trump’s National Security Adviser Herbert Raymond McMaster said just on Wednesday that the US was preparing “all options” for the North, “because the president has made clear to us that he will not accept a nuclear power in North Korea and a threat that can target the United States.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in greets supporters near Blair House, where he is staying across the street from the White House in Washington, DC, June 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
While paying tribute to the US Marines who were killed in the Korean War between 1950 and 1953 at a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, Moon said that his country and the US, together, “will achieve the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program, peace on the Korean Peninsula and eventually peace in Northeast Asia.”
Relations between North and South Koreas have been characterized by consistent tension. The two countries fought a war in the early 1950s, and have been at odds ever since the war ended. In recent years, Seoul has expressed deep concerns about Pyongyang’s missile and military programs.
Those programs have also deeply concerned Washington.
The North, currently under a raft of crippling United Nations sanctions over its military programs, says it will continue them until the US ends its hostility toward the country.
The US recently deployed an advanced missile system on South Korean soil to counter potential threats from the North, angering Pyongyang.

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