By TAKUYA SUZUKI/ Correspondent
June 27, 2020 at 15:29 JST
SEOUL--South Korea's President Moon Jae-in admitted he is at a loss for ways to improve ties with North Korea following Pyongyang's dramatic destruction of a liaison office that served as a symbol of joint cooperation.
Addressing the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club on June 26, Moon Chung-in, a special adviser to the South Korean president handling unification, foreign affairs and national security, disclosed some of what was discussed by Moon during a recent luncheon with former members of his Cabinet.
The gathering was held June 17, a day after the inter-Korean liaison office at the border town of Kaesong was ceremoniously demolished in a massive explosion. The event was recorded and shown around the world.
The South Korean president expressed his deep regret at the action, telling the gathering, “There is no telling the degree of shock felt by the (South Korean) public, nor the level of their anger and dismay.”
Moon added, “While we will have to repair relations between the two Koreas, I do not have any good ideas right now.”
The president also assured the gathering that his government would do everything in its power to deal with any unexpected confrontation while keeping a close eye on developments in North Korea.
“Our response will change depending on the choice North Korea makes for its exit strategy,” Moon went on.
After calling on the others for efforts to improve the situation, the president’s special adviser suggested, “If we can determine why North Korea unilaterally destroyed the office, we may be able to convince (the public).”
The Kaesong liaison office was blown up on June 16.
Kim Yo Jong, the powerful younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, had warned that destruction of the office was highly likely given the distribution within North Korea of anti-regime fliers by a group of North Korean defectors.
The Kaesong liaison office was established after Moon and Kim Jong Un met for a summit meeting in 2018.
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