SEOUL, JAN 16 — South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Wednesday that if a second summit between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States, and the DPRK leader’s Seoul visit take place, they would greatly help advance the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization, the inter-Korean relations and the settlement of permanent peace.
Kang made the remark during her New Year’s press conference with local reporters, according to local media reports.
The top diplomat said her country will take all diplomatic efforts to make 2019 a year of advancing the peninsula’s complete denuclearization and the lasting peace settlement further.
Top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump expressed their hopes to hold their second summit in the near future. The first-ever DPRK-U.S. summit was held in Singapore in June last year.
Kim also promised to visit Seoul after his third summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in September last year.
Kang said expectations ran high for the second DPRK-U.S. summit and the negotiations between the DPRK and the United States, noting that if the DPRK-U.S. negotiations are resumed, denuclearization talks would actively proceed based on the denuclearization strategy coordinated by Seoul and Washington.
The foreign minister said South Korea would strengthen relations with China and Russia in addition to cooperation with the United States.
Asked about corresponding measures Washington can take in return for Pyongyang’s denuclearization efforts, Kang picked the declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War, the humanitarian aid and the opening of a standing dialogue channel between the DPRK and the United States as possible options.
Pyongyang demanded Washington to take corresponding measures in exchange for its denuclearization efforts, such as the destruction of its sole nuclear test ground, while the United States called for further actions from the DPRK.
Regarding the war-ending declaration, Kang reiterated her position that it would become a first entrance to building a peace regime on the peninsula.
The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war as the three-year Korean War ended with armistice, not a peace treaty.
Touching on the resumption of inter-Korean cooperation projects, Kang said the South Korean government was not currently at a stage to review the reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Mount Kumgang tour.
The DPRK leader said in his New Year’s speech that he was willing to reopen the inter-Korean factory park in the DPRK’s border town of Kaesong and resume the tours by South Koreans to the DPRK’s scenic resort of Mount Kumgang “without any preconditions.”
The South Korean president welcomed the overtures in his New Year’s press conference, saying he would cooperate with the international community to rapidly resolve the remaining issues of international sanctions on the DPRK.
The Kaesong Industrial Complex was closed down by South Korea in February 2016 over the DPRK’s fourth nuclear test in the previous month.
The tourism project to Mount Kumgang, launched in 1998, has been suspended since 2008 when a South Korean tourist was shot dead by a DPRK solider after allegedly venturing into an off-limits area. – XINHUA