People watch a television screen broadcasting live footage of the Republic of Korea's President Moon Jae-in's New Year speech, at a railway station in Seoul on Jan 7, 2020. (JUNG YEON-JE / AFP)
SEOUL - A broader inter-Korean cooperation will help promote dialogue between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States and win the international support for sanctions relief toward Pyongyang, President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Moon Jae-in said Tuesday.
Moon made the remarks in his televised New Year's press conference at the presidential Blue House, saying that inter-Korean cooperation should be expanded as much as it can, instead of looking at the progress in the DPRK-US dialogue alone.
Moon said an enhanced inter-Korean cooperation will help gain international support for the "exemption of a part of sanctions" against the DPRK or the recognition of "exceptional measures."
He said an enhanced inter-Korean cooperation will also help gain international support for the "exemption of a part of sanctions" against the DPRK or the recognition of "exceptional measures."
Moon said that should there be a need to win an exceptional approval from the UN Security Council over sanctions against the DPRK, he was willing to make efforts as part of inter-Korean cooperation.
While acknowledging the limitations on inter-Korean cooperation due to international sanctions, Moon said there was sufficient room where the two Koreas could seek cooperation and exchanges.
He said that though inter-Korean relations were faced with difficulties because of the stalled DPRK-US dialogue, efforts were being made to expand inter-Korean cooperation through dialogue.
The president said his government was optimistic that things would go well.
Moon's comments came a week after he said in his New Year address that his government will seek "realistic" measures for broader inter-Korean cooperation while continuing efforts for the success of the DPRK-US denuclearization negotiations.
The president offered the DPRK concerted efforts to create conditions for top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un's reciprocal visit to the ROK, reaffirming his commitment to the resumption of the currently halted inter-Korean cooperation projects and the reconnection of railways and roads across the inter-Korean border.
Moon has advocated a virtuous cycle of improved inter-Korean relations, which led to creating favorable conditions for the DPRK-US denuclearization talks.
Regarding the deadlocked DPRK-US dialogue, Moon said that although both the DPRK and the United States have an agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in return for corresponding measures, the two sides have differences over with what the concrete measures are to reach that goal.
The DPRK-US dialogue was in a deadlock even if it did not break down, Moon said, adding that the prolonged stalemate was not desirable.
Moon said that both the inter-Korean and the DPRK-US dialogues could not be seen as entering a pessimistic stage, although he was not currently too optimistic about it.
Referring to US President Donald Trump's birthday congratulatory message to the DPRK leader, Moon said sending the message itself was "very positive," noting that a dialogue message was sent by Washington through the birthday message, to which the DPRK immediately announced its response.
Kim Kye-gwan, an advisor to the DPRK's Foreign Ministry, said in a statement Saturday that dialogue with the United States can resume only when Washington fully accepts Pyongyang's demands.
Regarding the DPRK response, Moon noted that though the DPRK said it would resume talks only when Washington accepts its demands, Pyongyang made it clear that it will not close a door to dialogue.
Moon emphasized the continued trust between the leaders of the DPRK and the United States, adding that efforts for dialogue were being made between Pyongyang and Washington.
HONG KONG NEWS