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Unification minister urges N.K. to refrain from provoking incoming U.S. administration

North Korea 17:22 December 03, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Lee In-young renewed calls for North Korea on Thursday to refrain from undertaking provocations amid concern that Pyongyang could try to test the incoming U.S. administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Lee made the remarks during his virtual speech at a forum on peace, urging North Korea to abide by a summit agreement signed between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018 to reduce tensions and bolster cooperation.

"I have said this repeatedly on several occasions, but there should never be a provocation from North Korea as it runs counter to the agreement signed by the two Koreas and it goes directly against the will of our people and their desire for peace," he said.

Lee said that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's approach toward North Korea may be flexible, pointing out that Biden has left room for the possibility of a summit meeting with Kim on the condition that Kim agrees to reduce his country's nuclear capabilities.

"We hope that the next six months or so will be a great opportunity to restart the peace process on the Korean Peninsula and to move toward complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

Inter-Korean relations have stalled since a no-deal summit between the North and the United States in February last year. Many of the summit agreements signed by the two Koreas in 2018 have been on hold ever since.

The ties chilled further recently after North Korea cut off inter-Korean communication lines and blew up the liaison office in anger over the sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North from the South.

Unification Minister Lee In-young speaks during a forum at the National Assembly in Seoul on Nov. 23, 2020, to discuss ways to normalize communication lines between the two Koreas. Inter-Korean communication lines have remained severed since North Korea blew up the liaison office in its border town of Kaesong in June in protest of anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent from the South. (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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