S Korea ready to support Pyongyang if it gives up nuclear weapons: S Korean ambassador to Cairo

Yasser Seddiq , Wednesday 18 Apr 2018

A South Korean marine soldier passes by a TV screen showing file footage of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 18, 2018 AP

South Korea's ambassador to Egypt Yoon Yeo-cheol affirmed that his country is ready to provide support and assistance to North Korea provided it gives up its nuclear weapons programme, citing the common history and language of the two Koreas.

The ambassador made the comments during a press conference on Tuesday ahead of the inter-Korean summit, which is set to take place on 27 April between President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Kim Jong-un of North Korea on the South Korean side of the Korean Joint Security Area.

Yoon Yeo-cheol said that the inter-Korean summit is an important milestone in South Korea's efforts to achieve lasting peace, mutual trust and stability in the Korean Peninsula. He also expressed his country's hope that such a historic summit will be held on a regular basis.

The meeting, if it takes place, will be the third inter-Korean summit and the first in 11 years. It will also be the first time since the Korean War in the 1950s that a North Korean leader enters South Korean territory.

The summit is planned to focus on the North Korean nuclear weapons programme and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The anticipated meeting is widely seen as a significant diplomatic step towards solving the North Korean nuclear impasse.

The South Korean ambassador told Ahram Online that the issue of sanctions against North Korea will be discussed. He also pointed out that his country is ready to help its northern neighbor with trillions of dollars, but he declined to reveal the specific nature of this financial support.

“They [the North Koreans] are asked first to prove their good faith and are also required to provide the necessary safeguards for the denuclearisation issue.”

Yoon Yeo-cheol also praised the cooperation between his country and the United States, especially with regards to the situation in the Korean peninsula, highlighting his country's continued coordination with Washington and with all friendly countries to achieve peace in the region.

“North Korea must abandon its nuclear weapons to achieve this peace,” he said. US President Donald Trump stunned the international community last month by accepting an invitation of direct talks with the North Korean strong man in a meeting set to take place before the end of May.

This would be the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader since the Korean War.

On China's stance on the summit, the South Korean ambassador told Ahram Online that Beijing would not welcome cooperation between North Korea and the US.

“However, we have to think that stability would not only be on the Korean Peninsula, but would extend to all neighboring countries,” he said.

The ambassador said that the policy of South Korean leader Moon Jae-in is comprehensive and a long-term one that aims to achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula as well as in Northeast Asia, with its regional neighbours and the international community.

The South Korean ambassador said that Seoul has set four strategies for peacefully resolving the standoff with Pyongyang.

These strategies include taking a  comprehensive step-by-step approach, tackling issues related to inter-Korean relations, ensuring sustainability through institutionalisation and laying the foundation for peaceful unification through mutually beneficial cooperation.

The ambassador said that the development of relations will strengthen the already existing inter-Korean agreements, including the 4 July South-North Joint Communiqué, the 15 June North–South Joint Declaration and the 4 October Declaration.

“This could be achieved by creating a new economic community through building a unified market on the Korean Peninsula to create new economic growth engines and the establishment of an inter-Korean economic community based on co-existence and common prosperity in coordination with Northeast Asia and among the neighbors of the peninsula,” he said.

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