South Korean President Moon Jae In said Monday that he would continue to seek an “irreversible road to peace” with North Korea until the end of his term in office, which ends in May, and called on Pyongyang for dialogue and cooperation.
“I will not stop efforts to institutionalize sustainable peace,” said Moon in his last New Year’s address as South Korean President, in which he emphasized that despite the progress made in recent years, there are still many opportunities to improve bilateral relations .
The President is referring to his initiative to reach a peace agreement that formally ends the Korean War (1950-1953), which ended with a ceasefire. Seoul last week unveiled an “effective” agreement with the United States on a draft final declaration.
South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui Yong said at the time that “North Korea has shown a number of quick and positive responses to the declaration of the end of the war,” but Seoul expects “a more concrete response.” He stressed that South Korea is “considering different ways” to advance talks with Pyongyang.
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un and a possible successor in power, said in September the statement was an “interesting” and “admirable” idea, but called on Seoul to end its “hostile” policies . before starting discussions.
With this in mind, Moon stated that “if dialogue and cooperation are resumed, the international community will respond,” stressing that Seoul “will seek to normalize inter-Korean relations and an irreversible path to peace by the end”. “I hope that dialogue efforts will continue during the next administration,” he added.
With this in mind, the South Korean president stressed that “peace is an essential prerequisite for prosperity” and warned that “peace will tend to change if it is not institutionalized,” the South Korean agency told the Yonhap news agency.
In another way, Moon has expressed his thanks to health workers for their efforts against the coronavirus pandemic and condolences to the families of those who have died of COVID-19.
Authorities lifted some restrictions in November as part of a ‘living with the coronavirus’ effort to return to normal, although the number of infections has risen since then, leading to re-imposition of measures.
With that in mind, Moon has expressed his wish that 2022 be “the first year of normalization with a full recovery from the crisis”, despite warning the population due to the high rate of contagion due to the omicron variant that it will become dominant in Country. “It’s a matter of time,” he admitted.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) announced this Monday that it had confirmed 3,129 cases and 36 deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 642,207 and 5,730, respectively.
It also highlighted that 1,015 people are in critical condition due to COVID-19, which adds up to fourteen days above the thousand threshold, with the historic maximum being set on Wednesday when 1,151 people were in critical condition.
Finally, the President expressed his wish that the March 9th presidential elections “are elections for unity that embody the hope of the people and not confrontation, hatred and division”. The president remains in office until May, when his five-year term ends.