Seoul Lays out Step-by-Step Plan for N.Korean Denuclearization

  • By Kim Myong-song

    December 04, 2018 13:06

    The Unification Ministry on Monday unveiled a master plan for developing ties with North Korea focusing on "peaceful coexistence, joint prosperity, and sustainable development of inter-Korean relations."

    The plan was supposed to come out in January, but events rapidly overtook it as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sat down for an unprecedented summit with U.S. President Donald Trump and the two Korean leaders met.

    "It took more time to finalize the plan than we expected because we had to take the overall changes into consideration," a ministry spokesman said.

    The new plan does not insist on making North Korea apologize for sinking the Navy corvette Cheonan in 2010, which Pyongyang still denies. "The new approach is part of efforts to create a favorable atmosphere for dialogue to peacefully resolve the crisis on the peninsula," a ministry official said.

    Efforts to improve human rights in North Korea also take up a smaller portion than in similar plans in the past.

    Denuclearization of the North is to be achieved by a "step-by-step approach," which to some observers sounds alarmingly like the North's own salami-slicing approach where small steps are rewarded with big concessions.

    A former ministry official said, "This shows that the government has accepted Pyongyang's salami-slicing tactics aimed at dragging its feet as much as possible."

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