SEOUL, May 20 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Lee In-young called Thursday for nonpartisan parliamentary support for the ratification of a 2018 inter-Korean summit agreement, saying such cross-border issues should be shielded from "wasteful" political controversies.
Lee made the remark during a forum in Seoul, saying that the government will soon officially ask for the ratification of the "Panmunjom Declaration" signed by President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after their first summit at the truce border village of Panmunjom in April 2018.
The declaration calls for the two Koreas to cooperate in reducing tensions, expanding cross-border exchanges and working toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Little progress has been made since the no-deal summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in early 2019.
"If solid ground is laid through nonpartisan cooperation and agreement in the National Assembly ... inter-Korean ties that have frequently turned into a matter of wasteful political disputes could be subject to more mature and constructive debate," Lee told the forum.
"The unification ministry has almost completed internal preparations and other procedural reviews with regard to the ratification of the Panmunjom Declaration," he said. "Going forward, we will take steps at an appropriate time to obtain parliamentary approval after having public consensus and communication."
Lee also emphasized that the ratification of the declaration would also signal South Korea's commitment to denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the longer term would help the two Koreas and the United States cooperate better in building a peace mood in the region.
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