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New FM says peace process with North Korea not choice but must

All News 10:51 February 09, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- New Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong stressed Tuesday that the peace process with North Korea is a "must-go path" for South Korea as he was sworn in as Seoul's top diplomat vowing to work closely with the United States and other key partners to achieve the goal.

"Our diplomacy is faced with a difficult situation. We are at a point in time where preemptive and strategic diplomacy is required as uncertainty in the international situation is deepening," Chung said in his inauguration speech.

"We have a task to realize complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and bring a lasting peace. The Korean Peninsula peace process is not a choice but a path that we must take," he said.

A former national security adviser, Chung went on to highlight the need for South Korea to further develop the alliance with the U.S. in a "more sound, mutually beneficial and comprehensive manner," saying the relations with Washington are the "foundation of our diplomacy."

He also called for efforts to work with other key partners, including China, Japan, Russia, the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union to achieve regional peace and prosperity.

Chung added that efforts should continue in order to expand South Korea's international participation and cooperation in such fields as public health, climate change, human rights and non-traditional security challenges.

Chung's nomination has been seen as reflecting Moon's will to revive his peace drive and help resume the nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang. Chung is known for playing a key role in brokering the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit in 2018.

New Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (C) enters the foreign ministry building in Seoul on his first day at work on Feb. 9, 2021. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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