South Korea extends another offer of dialogue to North Korea

President Moon says he is ready to meet with Kim anytime, anywhere.

South Korea extends another offer of dialogue to North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday extended another offer of dialogue to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying he is willing to meet Kim Jong-un anywhere, local media reported.

His statement came after Pyongyang's latest missile test, which heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"As long as there is a willingness to engage in dialogue, whether the summit will be held face-to-face or virtual does not matter. Whatever method North Korea wants will be acceptable," Yonhap News Agency quoted Moon as saying during an interview with foreign and local media.

Moon added that he wants to move forward with dialogue before the end of his current term, set for this May.

"Also, it is not desirable to place prerequisites for dialogue. I believe that it would be beneficial to discuss even such prerequisites at a negotiating table," Moon said.

Earlier, the US said it is willing to engage Pyongyang in unconditional dialogue.

However, North Korea has so far not responded to the US and South Korean offers.

Last month, Kim warned that US threats “have reached a dangerous line that cannot be overlooked,” pushing defense officials to start “immediately bolstering physical means” to counter Washington’s “hostile moves.”

The US has held “hundreds of joint war drills … and conducted tests of all kinds of strategic weapons, while shipping ultra-modern attack means into South Korea and nuclear strategic weapons into the region around the Korean Peninsula, seriously threatening the security of our state,” Kim said, accusing the US of undermining the progress made in Pyongyang-Washington talks.

'Stronger and clearer response'

Last month, the Biden administration announced more restrictions in response, angering Pyongyang, which threatened "a stronger and clearer response" if the US continued its "attitude of confrontation."

North Korea conducted seven confirmed missile tests in January, including one of a newly developed hypersonic missile.

"If North Korea's series of missile launches go as far as scrapping a moratorium on long-range missile tests, the Korean Peninsula may instantly fall back into the state of crisis we faced five years ago," Moon warned.

He also lamented the failure of a deal between the US and North Korea in 2018 and 2019 during Donald Trump’s term as president.

"It is very regrettable that the summit ended in 'no deal' when the continuation of dialogue should have been ensured at least," Moon said, referring to the Kim-Trump meeting in Hanoi in 2019.

He added that Seoul and Washington are ready to move on with Pyongyang to end the current tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Hüseyin Demir

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