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.
N. Korea's suspension from Olympics augurs ill for Seoul's peace efforts
IOC suspension of N. Korea latest wrinkle in inter-Korean sports cooperation
Hotline restoration raises hopes for inter-Korean summit, resumption of nuclear talks
N. Korea's withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics dampens hope for renewing inter-Korean sports cooperation
Sino-U.S. tensions, tighter China-N.K. ties feared to weaken denuke efforts