South Korea Promises Reunification With N. Korea by 2045

Published August 15th, 2019 - 11:36 GMT
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (AFP/ File Photo)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (AFP/ File Photo)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has vowed to work toward the reunification of the two Koreas by 2045.

“I promise to seek the creation of a solid basis for successfully holding the joint Olympics of 2032 in Seoul and Pyongyang, and by 2045, on the 100th anniversary of liberation, to enter the world in peace and unity as one country,” Moon said at the 74th anniversary of Korean liberation from Japanese rule in South Korea’s Cheonan on Thursday.

The South Korean president added that a unified Korea could become one of the world’s largest economies and a big market with a population of 80 million people.

The Korean War took place between 1950 and 1953, ending with a truce and not a peace treaty. Ever since, the two countries were on a near-constant war footing until North Korean leader Kim Jong-un initiated a rapprochement with South Korea last January.

Late last year, the two Korean leaders agreed in a meeting in Pyongyang to take a step closer to peace by turning the Korean Peninsula into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats.”

They hammered out a consensus on officially ending the Korean War, improving inter-Korean ties, easing tensions along the two neighbors’ border and reviving stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

Seoul urges resumption of denuclearization talks

Also on Thursday, Moon called for reconvening working meetings between the United States and North Korea as part of their negotiations on the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula.

“The time has come for the South, the North, and the United States to focus together on the soonest convening of working negotiations between North Korea and the United States,” Moon said in his speech.

The South Korean president said that despite “some concerning actions” by Pyongyang, dialog was needed to bring significant results on removing nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.

The North Korean and US President Donald Trump agreed to resume talks on the denuclearization as they met at the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas in late June.

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US-North Korea negotiations previously reached a deadlock, and have not resumed despite the meeting at the Korean border.

Since late July, Pyongyang has conducted a number of weapons tests, described by Seoul as short-range ballistic missiles. Trump has downplayed the launches, saying that other countries also tested the same missiles.

Seoul calls for dialog with Tokyo

In his speech marking Korea’s independence from Japanese rule, the South Korean president also offered to engage in talks with Japan in a bid to resolve their escalating political and trade tensions.

Moon said Seoul was ready to “join hands” with Japan if Tokyo chose dialog to resolve tensions.

“We hope that Japan will play a leading role together in facilitating peace and prosperity in East Asia while it contemplates a past that brought misfortune to its neighboring countries,” Moon said in the nationally televised address.

“Better late than never: if Japan chooses the path of dialog and cooperation, we will gladly join hands,” he added.

Seoul and Tokyo are mired in long-running disputes over Japan’s use of forced labor in the first half of the 20th century as well as bilateral trade.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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