SEOUL – South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday that the country should maintain a dialogue with Pyongyang and simultaneously strengthen military capabilities to face missile threats from its Northern neighbor.
Moon’s statement is in line with the strategy his government has adopted since coming to power in May, which encourages proximity to Pyongyang while maintaining diplomatic pressure in close collaboration with Washington and bolstering defense to tackle the possibility of attacks.
Moon said in a military graduation ceremony that South Korea should talk with the North about denuclearization, but also focus on military preparedness.
The statement comes on a day when a high-level South Korea delegation is set to return from a historic visit to the North – the first of its kind in more than 10 years – after meeting the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korean media covering the meeting – the first involving Kim and representatives of the South Korean government – said it was successful in preparing for a joint Korean summit of leaders, something which has not taken place since 2007.
Moon referred to the delegation, calling it the start of a “journey for peace and prosperity” and said he believed that the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula was achievable.
Although the North Korean press reported that Kim and the South Korean delegates explored ways to ease tensions between the two countries and boost dialogue and cooperation, there was no mention of denuclearization.