South Korea president says he won’t quit inter-Korea dialogue

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Sept. 18 (UPI) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he will not give up on hopes of inter-Korea dialogue, three months after the demolition of the liaison office in Kaesong and a day ahead of the second anniversary of the signing of the Pyongyang Joint Declaration.

Moon, who has sought but has been unable to procure another meeting with Kim Jong Un amid COVID-19, said Friday the path to peace and unification still exists for the two Koreas, South Korean television network KBS reported.

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“If we do not give up hope for a meeting and dialogue, we will undoubtedly be on the path to peace and unification,” Moon said during a meeting with the South’s Buddhist leaders.

On Sept. 19, 2018, Kim said in Pyongyang the two sides adopted a military agreement to end a “tragic history of confrontation and hostilities that have endured for decades.”

Moon said at the joint conference the era of a Korean Peninsula without war had dawned with the pact. A year later, following collapsed talks in Vietnam with the United States, North Korea accused the South of not following through with the agreement and returned to missile tests.

The provocations have not deterred Moon, who said on June 15 he and Kim “cannot reverse the promise of peace on the Korean Peninsula.” The following day, North Korea detonated the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong.

Kim Yo Jong, the North Korean official who is being held responsible for the demolition, has targeted defectors and human rights activists in the South for their distribution of anti-Pyongyang leaflets. Seoul’s audits of the defectors that followed have drawn criticism from the United Nations, and the government recently agreed to declassify its findings on North Korea human rights for the first time since 2016.

Yonhap reported Friday the unification ministry could be reversing the decision.

A ministry official said there has been no final decision on the release of a North Korean human rights report for public view, only that “preparations” are underway, according to the report.