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(LEAD) S. Korea to seek 'new structure' of talks with N. Korea, unification minister says

All News 17:12 July 04, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES lead paras; CHANGES headline)

SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Kwon Young-se said Monday his government will push for a "new structure" of inter-Korean dialogue in a bid for direct discussions on the denuclearization issue that had been handled largely between Pyongyang and Washington.

South Korea's top point man on North Korea also reaffirmed Seoul's commitment to a push for the development of inter-Korean relations on the basis of "all existing agreements" between the two sides, delivering a speech marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the historic July 4 South-North Joint Statement.

"The Yoon Suk-yeol government will open a new path for the development of sustainable South-North relations, sticking to the basics of respecting all inter-Korean agreements of previous governments," he said during a ceremony to commemorate the first official agreement signed by the governments of the two Koreas.

He stressed that the North Korea nuclear issue should not be left out of inter-Korean talks.

"We cannot just sit on our hands and leave nuclear negotiations to the international community," Kwon said. "I believe the denuclearization of North Korea and the issue of building political and military trust should be placed on the negotiating table in case an inter-Korean summit is held."

To that effect, South Korea will "establish a new structure of talks that can effectively discuss denuclearization, political and military trust building, and economic cooperation," he said, adding Seoul is ready to talk with Pyongyang about all pending issues anywhere.

"If there is anything the North Korean authorities want, they can have dialogue and talk (about it)," he said.

Unification Minister Kwon Young-se, South Korea's point man on inter-Korean relations, addresses a ceremony in Seoul on July 4, 2022, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the July 4 South-North Joint Statement. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, North Korean propaganda outlets accused South Korea of not fully abiding by the July 4 agreement.

"Until this day, a vicious cycle of confrontation and tension has repeated itself on the Korean Peninsula," DPRK Today, a propaganda outlet, said.

"The reason lies in the South Korean authorities who have neglected the three principles for national unification of autonomy, peace, and solidarity of the Korean nation, and failed to faithfully implement the inter-Korean agreement," it claimed.

The Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korea newspaper in Japan, lashed out at the conservative Yoon administration for "being subservient" to the U.S. and denounced Washington for its "hostile policies" toward Pyongyang.

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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