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Mutually beneficial inter-Korean ties will help accelerate peace and nuclear talks: minister

All News 09:10 September 07, 2020

By Koh Byung-joon

SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Yonhap) -- Mutually beneficial inter-Korean relations will help move the stalled denuclearization talks forward, the unification minister said Monday, calling for the two Koreas to take the lead in achieving "complete, verifiable and irreversible peace."

Unification Minister Lee In-young made the remarks in his online speech for the Korean Global Forum for Peace, an annual forum organized by his office, stressing that he will push for cooperation with the North in public health and other areas beneficial to the two Koreas.

"The South and the North will find the possibility of living together in a single community again through mutually beneficial cooperation," Lee told the forum livestreamed through YouTube. "I believe that would accelerate progress in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula and a big trend of dialogue on denuclearization between the North and the U.S."

Lee said that he will seek exchanges in the humanitarian sector as part of efforts to resume cross-border exchanges and expressed hope for "concrete" cooperation in such areas as public health, the anti-virus campaign and climate change.

"We should open the era of complete, verifiable and irreversible peace, with the two Koreas taking the lead in cooperation with the international community," Lee said. "We hope that the North will respond to this new start."

New Unification Minister Lee In-young speaks during a meeting of the ministry at the government complex in Seoul on July 28, 2020. Lee took office without a ceremony marking his inauguration. (Yonhap)

Inter-Korean relations have been stalled since the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump ended without a deal in February last year.

Seoul has sought active cross-border exchanges in a way to create a reconciliatory mood and help kick-start the stalemated nuclear negotiations, but Pyongyang has not responded to Seoul's repeated offers for talks and cooperation.

The relations between the two Koreas chilled further recently after the North blew up a joint liaison office in its border town of Kaesong and cut off cross-border communication in protest of the sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets by activists in the South.

Since his inauguration in July, the unification minister has said that his top priority is to resume severed dialogue with the North and vowed to push for "small-scale" exchanges in a way that does not violate global sanctions.


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