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(ROUNDUP) Moon urges N. Korea to restart nuclear talks for trust in Sweden speech

02:10 June 15, 2019

By Lee Chi-dong

STOCKHOLM, June 14 (Yonhap) -- In a bid to revitalize the Korea peace process, South Korean President Moon Jae-in used another speech abroad Friday, calling on North Korea to resume dialogue and take substantive denuclearization steps.

Addressing the Swedish parliament, known as the Riksdag, he stressed peace can be realized only through peaceful means.

"It is dialogue, not nuclear arms, that will keep North Korea secure," he said.

He urged Pyongyang to prove its nuclear-free Korea commitment with action in order to gain the trust of the international community.

If it does so, sanctions on the regime would be removed immediately and nobody would threaten its political system or security, he added.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech on the Korean Peninsula peace process at the Swedish Parliament House in Stockholm on June 14, 2019. (Yonhap)

It was a kind of a sequel to his Oslo Forum speech earlier this week and one in Berlin in July 2017.

It came amid an apparent impasse in the nascent and tumultuous peace process spurred by top-down diplomacy.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un refused to accept U.S. President Donald Trump's "big deal" demand in their two-day Hanoi summit in late February.

There has been no formal dialogue since then, although Moon said various unofficial "contacts" are underway as the momentum of dialogue stays alive.

He sent an indirect message to Washington as well, saying, "Each side's political system must be mutually respected and guaranteed."

Apparently mindful of conservatives' criticisms at home of his North Korea policy, the liberal president also said, "Trust should be mutual ... The people of the South must believe in dialogue with the North," he emphasized.

He added, "Those who distrust dialogue slow down the progress in peace."

In response to a question from a member of Riksdag after the speech, Moon reaffirmed that the ultimate goal of the ongoing Korean peace process is to achieve the complete denuclearization of the peninsula.

If realized, he said, it would provide a foundation for a firm global nonproliferation regime and pave the way for the two Koreas to talk about the mutual disarmament of conventional weapons

He admitted that peace won't be achieved overnight or easily, emphasizing the need for a patient approach based on constant dialogue.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) waves while riding through Stockholm streets in a carriage seated together with King Carl XVI Gustaf for a welcoming ceremony at the Royal Palace on June 14, 2019. (Yonhap)

Moon's pick of Sweden as the venue to deliver the message was symbolic and deliberate.

Sweden has three official missions on the Korean Peninsula -- in Seoul, Pyongyang and the truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

The Scandinavian country serves as a "protecting power" in North Korea for American citizens.

He also cited Sweden's own experience in giving up its nuclear program, which it began after World War II.

"It was truly a Swedish decision to propose and implement peaceful arms reduction, rather than resort to nuclear arms, to stand against new threats of war," he noted.

South Korea's national flag is shown as a carriage carrying President Moon Jae-in heads to the Royal Palace in Stockholm on June 14, 2019. (Yonhap)

Moon began his official schedule here with an official welcoming ceremony hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf at the Royal Palace in the Swedish capital.

Moon rode through the streets in a horse-drawn carriage to reach the palace in accordance with Sweden's tradition and protocol for state guests. Moon then inspected honor guards.

"The state visit by President Moon Jae-in and first lady (Kim Jung-sook) is an expression of a will to further strengthen relations between the two nations," the king said.

Moon said he hopes to learn about how Sweden has developed its vision as a country known for inclusive growth, social welfare and gender equality.

He later visited the Ericsson Studio for a 5G demo event and participated in a bilateral "business summit," which focused on strengthening partnerships in future cars, bio-health and ICT.

More than 100 representatives from 52 firms in South Korea are accompanying Moon on his trip to the Swedish capital. Those include Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, LG Chem, NEXON Korea and Netmarble.

In a state dinner, Moon said, "Sweden is an advisor and friend to trust always" in the Korean Peninsula peace process.

lcd@yna.co.kr
(END)

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