Moon says S. Korea-U.S. alliance crucial for Korea peace process

SEOUL-- President Moon Jae-in stressed Monday the importance of reinforcing the South Korea-U.S. alliance for the success of the Korea peace process in a direct message to the new foreign minister, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Moon pointed out that Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong is an architect of his liberal administration's diplomatic and security policy as the president gave him a letter of appointment.

Chung had long served as director of national security at the presidential office, the equivalent of the White House national security adviser.

"I would like to emphasize again that (our government) has an opportunity to make a last-ditch effort to make the Korean Peninsula peace process successful," Moon was quoted as telling Chung during a conversation right after the Cheong Wa Dae ceremony.

To that end, the Seoul-Washington alliance should be strengthened, a task that could be possible through close communication with the new U.S. administration of Joe Biden, Moon added, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

"It's true that we do not have much time given," noted Moon, who has about a year to go in office.

"However, I would like to ask you not to rush to achieve tangible results within the given time," Moon said, calling for a step-by-step approach.

He gave Culture Minister Hwang Hee and SMEs and Startups Minister Kwon Chil-seung letters of appointment as well.

Talking to Hwang, Moon said, "The priority is to normalize and restore the culture, sports and tourism sector that has suffered a big blow due to COVID-19."

He then instructed the minister to explore "special" measures to root out such reported problems in the local sports community as violence and sexual harassment.

Among the latest scandals is a revelation that volleyball twin star players Lee Jae-young and Lee Da-young from Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders bullied middle school teammates a decade ago.

In a message to Kwon, the president said his ministry needs to keep playing a role in helping small- and medium-sized firms and the self-employed.

Another major task is to establish a system to compensate them for coronavirus-linked damages in a "reasonable" manner, Moon said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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