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Pyongyang Declaration will accelerate denuclearization: Moon

All Headlines 11:43 October 23, 2018

SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- The inter-Korean agreement reached at the latest South Korea-North Korea summit in Pyongyang will help further accelerate the North's denuclearization process while creating new economic opportunities for the South, President Moon Jae-in asserted Tuesday.

The president insisted the agreement will also help promote human rights in the communist North.

The remarks came in a Cabinet meeting held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, in which the government ratified the Pyongyang Declaration of the leaders from the divided Koreas.

The Pyongyang Declaration "will work to promote the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and make it easier by reducing military tension and developing inter-Korean relations," the president told the meeting, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

The government also reviewed and ratified the military agreement, signed on occasion of Moon's bilateral summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang last month, under which the divided Koreas agreed never to use military force against each other.

"Most of all, it will first benefit the people in areas near the border who have long experienced disadvantages," the president said.

"It is also a way to practically improve the human rights conditions of the North Korean people," he added.

President Moon Jae-in (2nd from R) observes a national ceremony before the start of a weekly Cabinet meeting held at his office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Oct. 23, 2018, in which the government ratified the inter-Korean agreement from his third and latest summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang in September. (Yonhap)

Some critics have accused Moon of ignoring the dire human rights conditions in North Korea while holding three separate meetings with the reclusive leader to discuss ways to improve inter-Korean ties.

The president says inducing the North to change and become a normal member of the international community through dialogue and cooperation may be a better way to improve human rights conditions in the reclusive nation than pressuring the communist state to do so.

Moon said the latest inter-Korean agreements will also benefit his own people.

"They not only enhance the safety of our people but also help our economy by removing (military) risks from the Korean Peninsula," he said.

South Korea has long suffered from what is known as the "Korea discount," where local stocks and investment opportunities are significantly undervalued due to possible threats of instability stemming from its long-lasting military tension with the North.

The two Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended only with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Moon and Kim agreed to formally end the war in their historic first summit held in the border town of Panmunjom on April 27.

The agreement from the first Moon-Kim summit, called the Panmunjom Declaration, was earlier submitted to the South Korean National Assembly for ratification, but the parliament has so far failed to do so due to strong objections from conservative opposition parties.

Cheong Wa Dae said the Panmunjom Declaration required parliamentary ratification as its implementation will lead to fiscal spending, whereas the Pyongyang Declaration will not.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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