Speaking at a news conference earlier on Wednesday to mark his 100th day in office President Yoon Suk-yeol ruled out prospects of an aggressive campaign in addressing North Korea highlighting the importance of peaceful engagement to ensure regional stability and security.
My colleague Moon Connyoung starts us off.
South Korea does not want a North Korean regime change by force and remains open to dialogue as long as the talks aren't meant to be a "political show," but contributes to establishing peace in the region.
That's South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday during a news conference to mark his first hundred days in office where he stressed that Seoul is willing to provide corresponding economic rewards at each step of a phased denuclearization process if the North commits to a genuine "roadmap" toward fully abandoning its nuclear program.
"We are not telling them to 'denuclearize entirely first and then we will provide.'
What we are saying is that we will provide what we can in correspondence to their steps if only they show a firm determination toward denuclearization."
This comes just days after the South Korean commander-in-chief announced that an audacious economic package could start even before the end of North Korea's nuclear program.
Cross-border ties have worsened since nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the U.S. derailed in early 2019 and North Korea has ramped up its missile testing to a record pace this year launching more than 30 ballistic weapons so far including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles in nearly five years.
That revived debate in South Korea on whether Seoul should pursue its own nuclear weapons a possibility that President Yoon was quick to dismiss on Wednesday adding he remains committed to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
On relations with Japan, Yoon believes historical disputes with Japan dating back to its 1910 to 1945 colonial occupation of the Korean peninsula could be overcome and the neighbors should now cooperate more closely on supply chain and economic security.
"We are working our way through finding means to compensate the plaintiffs without clashing with the issue of sovereignty that Japan is worried about."
Yoon, a conservative who took power back in May after winning by a razor-thin margin, has been a proponent for taking tougher stance against North Korea while aligning his security policies with those of the U.S. and Japan.
Moon Connyoung, Arirang News.