Jul 03, 2020 15:22 UTC
  • South Korea's Moon appoints top aides, all advocates of inter-Korean rapprochement

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has appointed officials, all known as supporters of inter-Korean détente, as his new top national security advisors in an effort to revive stalled negotiations with North Korea.

The officials were appointed on Friday to replace the chiefs of national security, intelligence and unification policy.

Lee In-young, a four-term lawmaker, who was nominated to oversee inter-Korean ties as unification minister said, “Reviving inter-Korean dialogue is a top priority.”

He said that he would “look at the issue of restarting humanitarian exchanges and cooperation which can be done immediately.”

The current minister resigned over worsening relations with the North.

Moon appointed Suh Hoon, as his national security adviser and Park Jie-won, to succeed Suh as NIS head.

The president has so far held three summits with North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un, with whom he signed an agreement in 2018 to take a step closer to peace by turning the Korean Peninsula into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats.”The two Koreas were on a path of rapprochement beginning in January 2018 before US intransigence to relieve any of the sanctions on the North effectively killed diplomacy.

Earlier this year, Moon said he was making efforts to arrange a visit by Kim to Seoul, saying that both sides are in “desperate need” to improve relations.

The South’s president, who has also been trying to mediate between the North and the United States, urged President Donald Trump and Kim to meet once again before the US presidential election in November.

Trump and Kim have already met three times, mainly on Moon’s auspices.

Citing the coronavirus pandemic, the US’s deputy secretary of state and lead negotiator with North Korea, Steve Biegun, said on Monday that another summit was “probably unlikely between now and the US election.”

Biegun, however, said Washington would “continue to leave the door open to diplomacy.”

He is due to visit South Korea next week for meetings with his South Korean counterparts.

MG

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