South Korean presidential hopeful Moon Jae-in told a local newspaper that he would deal with North Korea’s nuclear ambitions through direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Moon — one of two top candidates for the May 9 election — told the Korea Herald that South Korea must negotiate with Kim to resolve the nuclear issue.
South Korea should play a greater role since it has the most at stake, the newspaper reported him as saying.
“I feel that we should take the lead,” Moon said in the interview on Monday. “At present, we are spectators who hope for the US-China talks to go well.”
He expressed regret that US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) did not reach an agreement on North Korea at last week’s summit.
A North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman on Monday called a US move to deploy an aircraft carrier strike group to the region “reckless,” according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
The move shows that North Korea was justified in seeking a nuclear arsenal for defense, it said.
“We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions,” the report said.
Moon is the nominee of the left-leaning Democratic Party of Korea, which has traditionally favored a softer approach toward North Korea. His rivals in the vote to choose a successor to ousted former South Korean president Park Geun-hye have taken more hardline stances toward Kim’s regime.
Moon has said that he would review a decision to allow the US to deploy a missile shield in South Korea over China’s objections.
His main rival, Ahn Cheol-soo, of the People’s Party, has expressed support for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
In the interview, Moon said he would address THAAD first if he took power.
“I will concentrate on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, which is the root of matters surrounding THAAD,” he said.
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