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Moon Jae-in congratulates Biden, seeks close cooperation on North Korea

Moon Jae-in congratulates Biden, seeks close cooperation on North Korea
At a meeting of the National Security Council Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in congratulated U.S. President Joe Biden on his inauguration and called for renewed efforts in the Korean peace process. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent a congratulatory message on Thursday to newly inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden and vowed to work closely with his administration on a range of issues including the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

Moon said in his note that Biden's message of unity "is resonating with the American people" and that he hopes to meet Biden in person in the "near future," spokesman Kang Min-seok said during a briefing on Thursday morning.

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In a separate statement on Twitter, Moon sent his congratulations, writing "America is back."

He added that the U.S.-South Korea alliance would "grow even stronger through our coordination in addressing global issues in such areas as public health, security, the economy and climate change."

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At a special meeting of the National Security Council later Thursday, Moon again pledged close cooperation with the Biden administration and urged movement on a faltering peace process with North Korea.

"The government will continue to cooperate closely with the new Biden administration to advance the peace process on the Korean Peninsula and will make every effort to return to the path of dialogue and cooperation with North Korea," Moon said in remarks before the session, the first he has chaired in nearly two years.

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Moon called the peace process with North Korea "not an option, but a path that must be followed."

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Washington's nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang have been at a standstill since a February 2019 summit between former U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, failed to reach an agreement.

Moon called for "an end to the long stalemate as soon as possible and a new breakthrough in the U.S.-North Korea dialogue and the inter-Korean dialogue so that the clock of peace will get moving again."

President Biden did not mention North Korea in his inaugural address Wednesday, but did signal that he would reverse course from Trump's "America First" stance and return to a closer relationship with global allies.

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"We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday's challenges, but today's and tomorrow's," Biden said at his inaugural ceremony on the steps of Capitol in Washington, D.C.

"We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress and security," he added.

Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said during a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday that the administration would "review the entire approach and policy toward North Korea."

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Blinken said the review would look at "what can be effective in terms of increasing pressure on North Korea to come to the negotiating table, as well as what other diplomatic initiatives may be possible."

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