NATIONAL

Resumption of US-North Korea negotiations is priority: unification minister

By Jo He-rim
  • Published : Jun 4, 2019 - 18:05
  • Updated : Jun 4, 2019 - 18:05

South Korea is making efforts to revive US-North Korea talks, as it is key to reviving inter-Korean relations, Seoul’s Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Tuesday.

Speaking to foreign journalists in Seoul, Kim said inter-Korean business projects, the Kaesong industrial park and Kumgangsan tourism will be normalized once conditions are met.

South Korea's Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul speaks to reporters at a press conference held in Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Seoul on Tuesday.

“At this point, the resumption of the US-DPRK negotiation is the important priority,” Kim said at a press conference at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Seoul.

“In order to make progress on inter-Korean tasks for peace and mutual prosperity on the peninsula, the US-DPRK relations should make progress as well,” he said, adding that the ministry is making “utmost efforts” for the resumption of dialogue.

Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have hit an impasse after their leaders failed to resolve differences on the scope of denuclearization and sanctions relief during their second summit, in Hanoi, Vietnam, in late February. Inter-Korean relations have also stalled after the summit.

Asked about breaking the impasse in nuclear talks, Kim said it is important for the two sides to regain trust.

“As we are striving to resume dialogue, I believe it is time for the US and North Korea to think about what they will do to restore trust,” Kim said.

Kim also highlighted the importance of economic cooperation between the two Koreas, saying it would create opportunities for “co-prosperity,” amid risks of slow economic growth.

As for the two major inter-Korean economic projects, the Kaesong industrial park and Kumgangsan tour program, the minister said they would resume when conditions are met. He said the South Korean government is working to create such an environment.

Despite sanctions on North Korea, there are humanitarian aid and cultural exchange projects that the two Koreas could promote, Kim said.

“But in the bigger picture, it is important that conditions are met for inter-Korean economic cooperation. By conditions, I mean that nuclear negotiations should progress to lead to sanctions relief,” he added.

Kim also called for China and concerned countries to cooperate to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue, as it is one of the most important issues for Northeast Asian countries.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)