“It is time for South Korea and North Korea to find a breakthrough together.” said President Moon Jae-in.
This was President Moon’s first statement since North Korea started to criticize South Korea more and has raised the level of military tension between the two countries. It seems that his statement indicates the government’s plan to improve exchange and cooperation between the two countries separated from a talk with North America.
President Moon held a meeting for chief secretaries and advisors at the Blue House on June 15 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of June 15th North-South Joint Declaration and stated that the two countries have reached a point where they cannot just sit still for conditions to become better.
He emphasized that the two countries have to make their own decisions and cannot just sit still for conditions on the international society to become better. He reassured his intention to pursue businesses that the countries can work together first.
He instructed his advising staff that he wants the two countries to actively look for and carry out businesses that they can decide on and pursue on their own.
It seems that President Moon believes that the reasoning behind North Korea’s elevated criticisms towards South Korea started from opposition from North Korean defector groups about distributing propaganda flyers to North Korea and frustrating relationship between the countries and South Korea’s cooperation with North America.
“We are going to continue to put in efforts to receive approvals from the international society about lifting sanctions on North Korea.” said President Moon. “We want to have more open communications with North Korea and combine wisdom from the two countries.”
Regarding the 20th anniversary of June 15th North-South Joint Declaration, President Moon is heavy-hearted and emphasized that it is necessary to look back on the mind and the result from the declaration as the relationship between the two countries becomes more serious.
He defined the declaration as a historic moment as it was the first time since the start of the Korean War when the two leaders from the two countries met for the first time.
He also explained that consistency of the government’s policies on North Korea started to change as the government has gone through changes and that the relationship between the countries was also affected by an external factor as the tension surrounding North Korea’s nuclear program was very high at one point.
“It is clear which direction the two countries need to go. We need to take steps towards reconciliation, peach, and unification with optimistic beliefs even if steps are slow.” said President Moon. He also urged that the current relationship cannot be stopped again when it overcame long disconnection and potential war crisis.
“We cannot just sit on the promise that myself and the Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un made in front of 80 million people regarding a peace in the Korean Peninsula.” said President Moon. “Panmunjom Declaration and Pyongyang Joint Declaration of September 18 are promises that the two countries need to carry out faithfully.”
“We are going to keep and improve outcomes that we have achieved with much difficulty.” said President Moon. “North Korea also cannot cut its communication with us and go back to old days of confrontation.” He also added that he hopes the two countries resolve inconvenient and difficult issues through communication and cooperation.

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<President Moon Jae-in is moving towards his seat at a meeting for chief secretaries and advisors on June 15. (Source: Yonhap News)>

He told his staff that it is unfortunate that there has not been much progress on the relationship with North Korea and the relationship with North America.
“Our government is going to do its best to maintain a state of communication with North Korea.” said President Moon. “We ask that the National Assembly and the public to help us during a serious time like this one.”
The political circle also stated that the two countries cannot give up on a journey towards a peaceful Korean Peninsula. However, the ruling party wants to extend current policies on North Korea while the opposing party wants changes in the policies.
“The government needs to show North Korea that we are doing our bests to keep promises. We need to actively carry out promises that can be met while the National Assembly needs to support the government with keeping those promises.” said Lee Hae-chan who is the leader of the Democratic Party of Korea. “The North Korean Government also needs to understand the difference between the two countries’ policies and trust willingness of our government and the Democratic Party of Korea.
Kim Tae-nyeon, who is the floor leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, urged ratification of Panmunjom Declaration by the National Assembly. He elaborated further by saying that there needs to be consistency on policies towards North Korea and legal binding power. He also mentioned the U.S. by saying that the U.S. should acknowledge exceptions on sanctions towards North Korea so that Gaeseong Industrial Complex and Mountain Geumgang tourism can be resumed swiftly.
“We cannot stop communicating with North Korea regardless of reasons behind its threatening words. We cannot forget the two leaders who are responsible for the people from the two countries even for a second.” said Lee Nak-yeon who is a member of the party with emphasis.
“Oppositions towards declaration of the end of war and a peaceful system are logics of those who are trying to gain political and economic benefits by utilizing current tension and separation within the Korean Peninsula.” said Kim Kyung-hyeob who is also a member of the party and issued a resolution that urges declaration of the end of war within the Korean Peninsula while representing 173 people of the ruling party on his Facebook account.
The opposing party also put out a statement that there needs to be a continuous progress on the relationship between the two countries even though there are provocations from North Korea. However, it wants the government to take a “strong position” rather than a “still position” in how it deals with North Korea from going forward.
The opposing party believes that an increase in defense capabilities based on a military alliance between South Korea and the U.S. is the reason behind a current peace between South Korea and North Korea.
“We need to be objective in examining why the current relationship between South Korea and North Korea is how it is right now.” said Kim Jong-in who is the chairman of Unified Future Party’s Emergency Measures Committee. “Although we expected that we can play a role in helping North Korea overcome its latest economic situation, it seems that North Korea is taking a threatening stance when we could not help North Korea much due to many restrictions from the international society.”
“As the public is very concerned about the latest comment made by Kim Yo-jong, we ask that the government take a stronger stance and explain its position towards the relationship with North Korea to the public.” said Kim.
“We have come to this humiliation as the current government has been busy with only pleasing Kim Jong-un for the past three years rather than focusing on reformation and human rights.” said Joo Ho-young who is the floor leader of Unified Future Party. “Peaceful process and humiliating appeasement policy by the government have been broken down.”
“While we needed to closely work with the U.S., Japan, Russia, and China in order to improve the relationship with North Korea, the current government rather amplified diplomatic conflicts with the U.S. and Japan and has made it difficult to better a relationship with North Korea.” said Joo. “However, we are ready to work bipartisanly in order to continue to put in efforts to achieve peace and unification even though there will be many difficulties towards achieving peace and unification.”
Unified Future Party is planning to submit a resolution that urges stoppage towards North Korea’s provocations under every member of the party to the National Assembly.
Staff Reporter An, Youngguk | ang@etnews.com