SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea remains committed to its push for the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War and cross-border cooperation with North Korea despite last month's killing of a South Korean fisheries official, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.
In a policy report for the parliamentary audit, the ministry stressed its steadfast focus on resuming dialogue with the North and laying the groundwork for lasting peace on the peninsula, while noting it had "sternly" dealt with the September incident.
The fatal shooting renewed skepticism over engagement with a recalcitrant Pyongyang, though North Korean leader Kim Jong-un issued a rare apology over it in a message to the South's presidential office.
"While considering the status of inter-Korean relations, the ministry will continuously seek cooperation with the international community for the declaration of an end to the war on the Korean Peninsula, COVID-19-related public health and quarantine cooperation, and the realization of the proposal to turn the Demilitarized Zone into an international peace zone," it said.
The ministry also said it would continue strategic coordination with the United States in preparation for the possible resumption of long-stalled nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.
"Based on close cooperation between the South and the U.S., the ministry will explore an active role to promote dialogue between the two Koreas and the U.S.," the ministry said.
"The ministry will continue to pursue comprehensive consultations (with the U.S.) that deal with denuclearization, relations between the two Koreas and between the North and the U.S., and the peace regime," it added.
During the parliamentary report, the ministry also said that as of Oct. 1, the government helped a total of 49,356 overseas citizens return home from 120 countries hit by the new coronavirus.
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