Moon makes ‘last-ditch’ NK effort
Published: Jan 11, 2021 06:23 PM

South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech on the 2021 budget at the National Assembly on Wednesday, saying he will boost support for high-tech industries such as chips while trying to get the economy back on track. South Korea plans to set aside 555.8 trillion won for the 2021 fiscal budget, up 8.5 percent year-on-year. Photo: cnsphoto

 South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday he remains committed to engaging with North Korea, and that cooperation on issues such as anti-­epidemic work could help lead to a breakthrough in stalled talks in the last years of his term.

Seoul will make efforts to jumpstart talks between the US and North Korea as US President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office, Moon said during his annual New Year's speech.

"Dialogue and co-prosperity are key drivers of the peace process on the Korean Peninsula," he said. "Our will to meet anytime, anywhere, and willingness to talk... remains unchanged."

Moon, whose term ends in 2022, has made engagement with North Korea one of his signature goals, and he said he would liaise closely with Biden's administration.

Talks aimed at convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and improve relations with the US and South Korea have been stalled, with Pyongyang accusing Seoul and Washington of maintaining hostile policies.

"We will strengthen the alliance with the US in line with the inauguration of the Biden administration, while making last-ditch efforts for a grand breakthrough in stalemated North Korea-US and inter-­Korean talks," Moon said.

North Korea has been holding an ongoing party congress, where leader Kim Jong-un called for revitalizing the country's economy.

North Korea has endorsed top leader Kim as the general secretary of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Monday.
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