South Korea's new minister in charge of inter-Korean affairs says Seoul plans to expand dialogue with Pyeongyang in order to peacefully diffuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula that heightened in the aftermath of North Korea's military and nuclear provocations last year.
During his inagural ceremony on Monday, newly appointed Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik stated that the Korean Constitution aims for a peaceful unification of the two Koreasand that autonomous efforts, mutual trust, respect, reconciliation and cooperation are the key factors to achieve that goal.
Yu added that South Korea and its allies are urging the North to show its seriousness on denuclearization and take responsibility for the recent military provocations, so that Seoul and Pyeongyang can rebuild their mutual trust and make progress in inter-Korean relations.
However, the minister stressed that the government does not plan to drastically shift away from its current North Korea policies.
[Interview : Yu Woo-ik, Minister of Unification] "The Unification Ministry will be consistent in maintaining the government's policy direction and principle. We will seek a balance in establishing conditions for dialogue and resolving outstanding issues in a resolute manner while also exercising flexibility."
Yu addressed ministry employees by calling unification the biggest pending issue on the Korean Peninsula, then proposed the Ministry should become more goal-oriented, practical, creative, active and dedicated in achieving that task.
[Interview : Yu Woo-ik, Minister of Unification] "Instead of declaring the "what and hows," we will demonstrate our volition for unification through action and expand promotion both inside and outside the borders. We will listen to the public's expectations and consult with neighboring countries."
As for his outlook on inter-Korean ties, Minister Yu told reporters that North Korea policies often do not immediately generate a tangible outcome, emphasizing that more time and patience are needed before some progress can be observed.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.