Moon to seek greater cooperation with N. Korea without undermining sanctions: adviser

WASHINGTON-- South Korean President Moon Jae-in will make sure to seek greater exchanges and cooperation with North Korea within the framework of international sanctions on the communist nation, a top adviser said Friday.

The remark by Moon Chung-in, a foreign affairs scholar serving as special presidential adviser, is seen as aimed at dispelling U.S. concern ahead of the first summit between the two countries that a softer approach by the South's new liberal leader could end up blunting sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korea will be one of the top issues for Moon's June 29-30 meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump, with a focus on how to reconcile Trump's policy of "maximum pressure" on the North with Moon's hopes to foster peace through exchanges and cooperation with the isolated neighbor.

Adviser Moon, an honorary professor at Seoul's Yonsei University, arrived in Washington earlier this week on a mission to improve understanding among American opinion leaders of the new government's foreign affairs and inter-Korean policy ahead of the summit.

Speaking at a Woodrow Wilson Center seminar, he said that President Moon pursues "incremental, comprehensive and fundamental" denuclearization with North Korea, beginning with a freeze on its nuclear and missile programs and a verifiable dismantlement of its nuclear facilities and materials.

The new government also favors linking denuclearization to a peace treaty and reopening six-party talks, he said.

The South seeks a peaceful coexistence or "de-facto unification" with the North through trust-building and exchanges and cooperation and won't seek to absorb the North, the adviser said. The new government will also not tolerate the North's provocations, he said.

The Moon administration also hopes to further strengthen the alliance with the U.S. and take back the wartime operational control of the country's forces from the U.S. in order to reduce its dependence on the U.S. for its security and to enhance its defense capabilities, the adviser said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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