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NK silent as Moon speaks of peace deal

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Saturday that the Pyongyang Joint Declaration should be fulfilled, in a message commemorating the second anniversary of the inter-Korean peace deal signed by him and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sept. 19, 2018, at their third summit that year.

“The reason the deal has yet to be realized was that there were hurdles, both domestic and foreign. Nevertheless, we have an unwavering commitment to peace,” Moon wrote on Facebook, adding that the “seeds” of peace sown two years ago were destined for fruition.

Moon said he and Kim shook hands on bringing about a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and on upholding an inter-Korean military arrangement. Not a single skirmish has occurred at the border since that time, and that was valuable progress, Moon added.

Unification Minister Lee In-young voiced similar sentiments, saying the two Koreas should go back to that year when they marked a “new milestone” for peace.

“We should try dialogue and find an answer,” Lee told a forum Friday.

On the other hand, North Korea remained silent on the topic, with its state newspaper, broadcaster and propaganda outlets staying quiet.

The two Koreas have not addressed each other since Pyongyang suspended a plan to stage military action against Seoul in June after blowing up an inter-Korean liaison office over the launch of anti-North leaflets over the inter-Korean border.

Meanwhile, political parties in the South voiced contrasting assessments of inter-Korean relations on the occasion of the anniversary.

The ruling Democratic Party released a statement saying people here had come to embrace peace, whereas the main opposition People Power Party said Moon’s approach would not lead to peace.

“Our patience ran out when the North spoke of withdrawing from the military pact after demolishing the liaison office. President Moon talks about ‘no skirmish’ in denial of the reality,” the spokesperson for the People Power Party said, advising Moon to try genuine talks and follow up measures that hold the North accountable.

“Strip off the veneer and work for real peace,” the spokesperson said.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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