South Korea calls for new ways to initiate dialogue with North Korea

By Jennie Oh  |  Dec. 4, 2017 at 8:51 AM
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SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- South Korean officials on Monday called on Seoul and Washington to adopt a new joint strategy on bringing North Korea back to dialogue.

Democratic Party lawmaker Song Young-gil said at a forum in Seoul, "North Korea will not give up its nukes without a solution, such as a collective security framework that renders its nuclear development unnecessary," Yonhap reported.

Adding that pressure from China will not be enough to make Pyongyang pull the plug on its weapons development, Song stressed that the United States must engage in one-on-one talks with the regime, after both sides abandon their strategies involving pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the other.

"The U.S. must lay the groundwork for a peace agreement that assures it won't launch any kind of aggression towards the North," Song said.

Kim Nam-joong, policy head of Seoul's Unification Ministry, also stressed the need to "allay the regime's concerns on its stability," News 1 reported.

Kim said that the cost of abandoning its nuclear weapons program has grown substantially for the North Korean regime in line with its technological advancement over the years.

The official added that the North's concerns over the regime's stability have grown, taking into account Kim Jong Un's shaky power succession, as well as the collapse of Middle Eastern nations after scrapping their nuclear programs.

He suggested that Seoul and Washington consider a new negotiation framework that would reduce the instability of the regime instead of offering economic aid in return for denuclearization.

The Moon Jae-in administration has pursued a two-track North Korea policy of ramping up pressure and sanctions on the regime, while keeping a door open for dialogue.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said the South Korean government pursue a solution to crisis by bringing the North back to international talks on denuclearization, based on a step-by-step approach.

He said that dismantling the North's nuclear program will lead to the "transition of the Pyongyang regime from an unstable, static system to an order of permanent peace."

Earlier in the day, North Korea blasted the unification minister's call last week for inter-Korean talks.

The North's Rodong Shinmun daily said Seoul's proposition for dialogue was "an act of brazen impudence that attempts to transferring blame to the North for the deteriorating state of affairs."

It said the South must break away from Washington's policies that aim to stir distrust and conflict between the two Koreas, Yonhap reported.

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