Vice FM Choi calls for peace road map including end-of-war declaration, denuclearization
SEOUL, First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun called Tuesday for a road map for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, including the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, and pledged to work closely with the incoming U.S. government to that end.
Choi made the remarks in his keynote speech during a gathering of South Korean and U.S. business leaders in Seoul, which was hosted by the Federation of Korean Industries and the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea.
“Going forward, South and North Korea, along with the United States and neighboring countries, should craft a road map for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a peace regime, which includes the end-or-war declaration, and should implement it,” Choi said.
“We should meticulously make preparations and work to create opportunities. When opportunities arise, we will have to move boldly,” he added.
Touching on growing skepticism about on-again and off-again engagement with Pyongyang, the vice minister stressed that Seoul will stay the course and take “steady steps forward to achieve sustainable peace.”
Choi, in addition, reiterated Seoul’s commitment to closely cooperating with the incoming Joe Biden government to work toward the “shared goals” of peace and prosperity on the peninsula.
He also used his speech to thank U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, Washington’s pointman for nuclear talks with the North, for his efforts to advance the peace efforts.
“The Republic of Korea can rest assured as Deputy Secretary of State Biegun, who doubles as the special representative for North Korea, is at the heart of this process,” the vice minister said, using South Korea’s official name.
“I would like to use this occasion to extend my heartfelt thanks to Deputy Secretary Biegun, and I hope that we will drink a glass of ‘soju’ and eat chicken together in the near future,” he added, referring to the popular Korean alcoholic drink.
Biegun, who was attending the session via video links, welcomed Choi’s invitation, referring to his favorite Korean chicken stew, “dakhanmari” — a dish that has now become a symbol of his affection to Korean cuisine.
“I want to give special thanks to my colleague, my counterpart, Choi Jong-kun and don’t worry, I heard your remarks and I look forward to that bowl of ‘dakhanmari’ when I am in Seoul later,” Biegun quipped.
Source: Yonhap News Agency