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President Moon Jae-in says inter-Korean summit does not mean easing of sanctions Updated: 2018-03-08 04:06:17 KST

The ultimate goal of the South Korean government is North Korea's denuclearization.
That's according to President Moon Jae-in during a luncheon Wednesday with the leaders of the country's five major political parties.
He said that his government won't settle for anything less.
The meeting came a day after the South Korean delegation returned from their visit to North Korea -- with President Moon updating the party leaders on the latest developments.

"We are at a critical juncture in regard to peace on the Peninsula and denuclearization. But I believe it is still too early to be optimistic. We are only at the starting line."

The ruling party applauded the government for achieving the agreement to hold inter-Korean summit talks -- and welcomed the president's follow-up plans.

"The president clearly laid out the route to denuclearization through a sophisticated roadmap that will lead to complete nuclear disarmament. Regarding conditions for the inter-Korean talks, he said it requires cooperation from the two Koreas and the U.S., as well as support from the international community. Based on this, he said, the conditions were created and the outcome was inter-Korean dialogue."

Conservative and centrist parties, meanwhile, made clear their views on the North Korea issue -- stressing that the summit talks must not result in the easing of sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.

"Although sanctions were eased to a certain extent for individuals during the Winter Olympics, from now on it's a different story. The president said sanctions can be eased in coordination with the international community, but at this moment he has no intention to do that and sees it as impossible. He also said that there will be no favors done just because the two sides have started talks."

The president also apparently brushed off speculation about his envoys making any secret agreements with North Korea during their visit.
The main opposition party raised concerns that Seoul is being fooled by Pyongyang.
The party also questioned why the summit talks were scheduled for April, to which the Blue House said that it was Moon's campaign pledge to hold talks within a year of taking office.

"I get the feeling that the government is going along with the demands of North Korea, not just when it comes to the summit talks, but all other inter-Korean events as well. In regards to the timing, it seems as though the government wants to foster a peaceful mood ahead of the June local elections to make the vote more favorable to them. I also warn that North Korea cannot be allowed to use the summit talks to buy more time to complete its nuclear programs"

The country's liberal parties, however, welcomed the latest developments.
The Party for Democracy and Peace called it a golden opportunity that should be used well so that inter-Korean talks lead to dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.
The Justice Party said the current situation shows that Seoul is in the driver's seat in terms of security affairs on the Peninsula adding that all parties should cooperate to maintain the peace momentum.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
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