JAKARTADAILY.ID - South Korean President Moon Jae-in has pledged to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea during his last months in the presidential office, Reuters reported on Monday (January 3, 2022).
Meanwhile, North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un did not comment on Moon's calls for a declaration to properly end the 1950-1953 Korean War in his own New Year's Eve address. He also did not mention anything about halted denuclearization talks with the U.S.
Moon held various summits with Kim, including one in Pyongyang, throughout a flurry of negotiations in 2018 and 2019. However, talks stagnated over disagreements on international demands that the North give up its nuclear arsenal and Pyongyang's demand that Washington and Seoul relieve restrictions and drop other "hostile policies".
Moon is pressing for an "end of war declaration" to revive the delayed talks, and his administration has indicated it at backchannel talks. The U.S. has said that it welcomes the idea but may disagree with the South on the timing.
"It is true that there is still a long way to go," Moon accepted this, but he also said if inter-Korean relations develop, so will international relations.
Moon claimed that a significant military buildup had made his outreach to North Korea possible. "Peace is possible on strong security," he remarked.
The COVID-19 pandemic clouded North Korea's standoff, as Pyongyang imposed an unprecedented state of emergency and Moon encountered internal pressure to contain the first large coronavirus outbreak outside of China in early 2020.
South Korea has adopted intense tracking and tracing, as well as social distancing rules and vaccine passports to keep total cases and deaths low by worldwide standards since then.