North Korea's sudden turnaround has sparked concerns that it may put the brakes on the recent momentum towards peace on the Korean peninsula.
During a parliamentary briefing by the foreign affairs and unification ministries on Thursday,.. the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said that the postponement of the high level inter-Korean talks could be the start of a bigger headache.
"North Korea and the U.S. are on different pages. If this is to continue, the two sides may not even hold talks, and even if they do, a significant agreement may not come out of it, and we could go back to the situation we saw last year. This will then put President Moon in an awkward situation, and also put a crack in the South Korea-U.S. alliance."
"North Korea has promised complete denuclearization, but like you said, there's a difference between how Pyongyang and Washington want this done. But we are aware that the two sides are in direct communication in regards to the talks. So we believe, they will be able to coordinate, and through the South Korea-U.S. summit, we also plan to coordinate with the U.S."
Given the unpredictable situation, some lawmakers cautioned about lifting the economic sanctions imposed on the regime so soon, saying that Seoul could see itself fooled.
But all parties recognized the need to create the conditions for successful talks between North Korea and the U.S.,.. and the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration so that it leads to permanent peace on the Korean peninsula.
In that sense, the ruling Democratic Party of Korea also said the leaders of the two Koreas should actively communicate through the recently installed hotline.
"A hotline has been established but there's been no talks between the leaders. As a mediator, Seoul has a lot of tasks. I see the need for talks ahead of the South Korea-U.S. summit."
"Yes, I agree. The Blue House and the North Korean side will determine the opportune moment."
Rival lawmakers also warned that denuclearization isn't a matter that just concerns the U.S. and North Korea but impacts South Korea as well, saying Seoul needs to play a more active role in facilitating the talks so that its security interests are reflected in any possible agreement.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.