April 22, 2021 11:16
President Moon Jae-in continued his increasingly forlorn campaign of diplomacy on behalf of North Korea this week by urging U.S. President Joe Biden to "engage now" with the reclusive regime.
In an interview with the New York Times published Wednesday, Moon said, "The most important starting point for both governments is to have the will for dialogue and to sit down face to face at an early date."
"I hope that Biden will go down as a historic president that has achieved substantive and irreversible progress for the complete denuclearization and peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula," he added.
He criticized Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, who he said "beat around the bush and failed to pull it through" after staging several photo ops with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. But he added, "I believe that if we build on what President Trump has left, we will see this effort come to fruition under Biden's leadership."
He warned that "it would be a mistake to kill the 2018 Singapore agreement" reached in Trump and Kim’s first summit, he urged both the U.S. and North Korea to "move in 'gradual and phased' steps toward denuclearization, exchanging concessions and incentives 'simultaneously' along the way."
The daily said Moon "appeared ready to step once again into the role of mediator between" the U.S. and North Korea ahead of his summit with Biden in Washington next month.
"Moon was proud of his deft diplomatic maneuvering in 2018, when he steered the two unpredictable leaders of North Korea and the United States to meet in person," it commented. "He was also pragmatic, tacitly acknowledging that his work to achieve denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula has since unraveled."
Moon "also urged the United States to cooperate with China on North Korea and other issues of global concern, including climate change," the daily added. "If tensions between the United States and China intensify, North Korea can take advantage of it and capitalize on it," it quoted him as saying.
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