August 16, 2022 10:07
President Yoon Suk-yeol on Monday promised economic and energy aid to North Korea if it scraps its nuclear weapons program.
In a speech marking the 77th anniversary of liberation from Japanese colonial rule, Yoon said, "If North Korea pursues concrete denuclearization steps, I propose an audacious plan to radically improve the North’s economy and the people's livelihood."
"North Korea's denuclearization is essential for sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula, in Northeast Asia and the world," he added.
A presidential office source said Seoul could re-activate an inter-Korean economic development committee and seek a partial lifting of sanctions if Pyongyang takes palpable steps to denuclearize.
Yoon said the plan includes "large-scale food aid, pipeline and other infrastructure support, the modernization of ports, technological assistance to North Korean agriculture, modernization of hospitals and international financial support."
The plans elaborate on an offer made in his inauguration speech on May 10.
National security adviser Kim Tae-hyo told reporters Yoon's plan "is a bold offer since it considers economic support from the initial negotiation phase if North Korea enters talks with sincerity. This is a comprehensive plan that also includes political and military cooperation roadmaps in addition to economic collaboration."
Similar proposals have been put forward by previous administrations and usually foundered on North Korea’s deceit or intractability.
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