Ryoo: North Hard to Trust on Denuclearization

[imText1]It is not getting any easier to believe that North Korea harbors a genuine interest in denuclearization, South Korean Minister of Unification Ryoo Kihl Jae told an academic conference in Seoul this morning.

Delivering the keynote address at the start of the two-day Asan Institute for Policy Studies’ 2013 conference on North Korea, Minister Ryoo declared that North Korea “clearly” has to invest greater effort in the creation of trust, and that “without North Korea making the appropriate choices and changes, there’s going to be a limit to the development of South-North relations.”

“Rather than the Six-Party Talks in and of themselves, the government will focus more on [North Korea’s] attitude during talks, and hopes that North Korea will not repeat its unilaterally broken promises,” Ryoo went on to add “The government sees not ‘what’ is done but ‘how’ it is done as the more important thing […] Accordingly, the important part of the ‘Korean Peninsula trust process’ is not what is done but how it is done.”

“Solid trust between South and North builds by according the appropriate price for attitudes and actions that undermine trust, while responding actively to positive attitudes,” he said. “We are going to build trust by adopting the principle of maintaining ongoing humanitarian support irrespective of political problems.”

Ryoo also noted that President Park Geun Hye’s DMZ Peace Park proposal could act as the first step toward forming a space of inter-Korean and international trust-building. Finally, he concluded, “We certainly do not want the North Korean system to collapse,” adding, “We will work for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia.”

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