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Breakthrough needed on North Korea, South's leader says

Breakthrough needed on North Korea, South's leader says
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in April 2018. Moon said Monday Kim has sought cooperation with South Korea, days after Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, threatened the South. File Photo by Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps/UPI | License Photo

June 15 (UPI) -- South Korea's president called for an inter-Korea breakthrough while voicing "disappointment" on the lack of progress in relations.

President Moon Jae-in said at a meeting of his senior aides on Monday, the 20th anniversary of a historic agreement, the time has come for the two Koreas to come together "in search of a breakthrough," local news service News 1 reported.

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"As the proprietors of the fate of the Korean Peninsula, I hope that the North and South will arrive at self-made decisions and actively pursue projects," the South Korean leader said.

Moon's comments come after Kim Jong Un's sister, senior North Korean official Kim Yo Jong, slammed the South in a string of messages that included threats to turn the inter-Korea liaison office in the North into a "tragic scene."

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"By exercising my power authorized by the supreme leader, our party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with [the] enemy to decisively carry out the next action," Kim had said, according to KCNA.

On Monday Moon did not directly address Kim's statements. Kim Jong Un wants to cooperate with the South, he said.

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"I am well aware of Kim Jong Un's determination and efforts to make a breakthrough, regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said, referring to past summits.

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In 2018, the two leaders signed declarations that were touted as first steps toward peace and reconciliation.

The South Korean president added the situation on the peninsula was not ideal, but did not cite reasons for tensions.

"I am also very disappointed that the progress of North-South relations has not progressed as expected," Moon said.

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South Korea's opposition conservatives told reporters on Monday the Moon administration's plans for North Korea are falling short of its goals, Yonhap reported.

"North Korea had expected the South to play a role in resolving [the North's] difficult economic situation in recent years, but when the South could not implement due to various restrictions of the international community, it assumed a threatening position," said Kim Chong-in, chairman of the emergency committee of the United Future Party.

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