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South Korea’s new president offers economic support if North Korea denuclearises

Yoon says the door to dialogue will be open to resolve North Korean nuclear threats



AP file
AP file

By AP

Published: Tue 10 May 2022, 7:24 AM

Last updated: Tue 10 May 2022, 7:28 AM

South Korea’s new president says he’ll present “an audacious plan” to improve North Korea’s economy if it denuclearises.

Yoon Suk Yeol made the offer during a speech at his inauguration ceremony in Seoul on Tuesday.

Yoon says the door to dialogue will be open to resolve North Korean nuclear threats. He says his government will be ready to work with the international community to present “an audacious plan” that will significantly strengthen North Korea’s economy and improve its citizens’ livelihoods.

Yoon, who has previously vowed a tougher stance on North Korea, appears to have avoided tough words amid concerns North Korea is preparing for a nuclear test. But it was unclear if North Korea would accept his overture as the North has previously rejected similar offers to provide incentives linked to progress in its denuclearisation.

Conservative Yeol took office as South Korea’s president on Tuesday, facing a tougher mix of foreign policy and domestic challenges than other recent South Korean leaders encountered at the start of their presidencies.

The former top prosecutor began his five-year term at midnight Monday by taking command of South Korea’s 555,000-member military and receiving a briefing on North Korea from his military chief at the new presidential office in central Seoul, formerly the Defense Ministry building.

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Won In-Choul, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, told him in a video conference that North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear test if its leader Kim Jong Un decides to do so. Yoon then ordered military commanders to maintain a firm military readiness, saying that “the security situation on the Korean Peninsula is very grave.”


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