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S.Korean Prez urges Pyongyang not to backtrack on peace efforts

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday urged North Korea not to backtrack on agreed-upon peace efforts, making his first official remarks on Pyongyang's latest threats.

Updated Jun 15, 2020 07:34 AM

S.Korean Prez urges Pyongyang not to backtrack on peace efforts

"The direction the two Koreas should go together is clear," Yonhap News Agency quoted Moon as saying during a weekly meeting with senior presidential aides.

"We should not stop the current inter-Korean relations again, which have overcome a long-time severance and the crisis of a war with difficulty."

His address came as the two sides marked the 20th anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration adopted in a historic summit between the late leaders of the two Koreas -- Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il.

Moon said he's commemorating the anniversary with a "heavy heart", apparently referring to frosty inter-Korean ties highlighted by Pyongyang's decision to cut all communication lines with Seoul and even a threat of military action.

Moon cited his own summit deals with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018, one reached at the truce village of Panmunjom and the other in Pyongyang.

He said his government would make "incessant" efforts to implement summit agreements.

"(We) can't let the promise of peace on the Korean Peninsula, which I and Chairman Kim Jong-un made in front of 80 million Koreans, revert," Moon stressed.

The April 27 Panmunjom Declaration and the September 19 Pyongyang Joint Declaration represent a "solemn promise" for both South and North Korea to implement faithfully, Yonhap News Agency quoted the President as saying.

Noting that denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang were in a drawn-out stalemate, Moon proposed that the two sides make it their initiative to produce a "breakthrough" in the peace process.

Over the weekend, Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong issued yet another provocative statement saying that the military would be in charge of a next step to respond to the distribution of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets by some activists here across the border.

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