Opposition leader calls for review of Yoon’s “confrontational, biased diplomacy”

Posted on : 2023-06-16 17:17 KST Modified on : 2023-06-16 17:17 KST
The comments came during an event marking the 23rd anniversary of the inter-Korean summit of 2000
Lee Jae-myung, leader of the opposition Democratic Party, speaks at an event commemorating the June 15 inter-Korean summit of 2000 at the Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library and Museum in Seoul’s Mapo District on June 15. (Yonhap)
Lee Jae-myung, leader of the opposition Democratic Party, speaks at an event commemorating the June 15 inter-Korean summit of 2000 at the Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library and Museum in Seoul’s Mapo District on June 15. (Yonhap)

Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung called for a “complete review of confrontational, biased diplomacy” as well as a revision of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s hard-line North Korea diplomatic and national security policy on Thursday.

“The meeting between President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in June 2000 ended a half-century of hostility between the two Koreas and opened a new chapter in national history,” Lee said at a ceremony marking the 23rd anniversary of the 2000 inter-Korean summit at the Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library and Museum in Seoul.

“We should not push the Korean Peninsula back into the middle of the new Cold War with biased factional diplomacy,” the Democratic leader added.

Calling relations with China and Russia “two key pillars of peace on the Korean Peninsula and regional stability,” Lee said that these ties had been “rapidly deteriorating since the current administration took office.

“It is time to completely review confrontational, biased diplomacy and open the door to dialogue once again,” Lee said.

Others emphasized bipartisan cooperation for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“The South-North Joint Communiqué of July 4, 1972, was made by President Park Chung-hee, and the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement [of 1991] was reached under President Roh Tae-woo,” said Park Kwang-on, the floor leader for the Democratic Party, at the party’s policy coordination meeting.

“We need to lay the foundation for bipartisan cooperation and public support, so that we can resume [inter-Korean] dialogue when the opportunity comes,” he said.

While calling the current situation “difficult,” Park still said that the “opportunity for peace on the Korean Peninsula will surely come in the not-too-distant future.”

“We need to create a foundation to revive the four-way peace talks that have already been agreed upon by the two Koreas, South Korea and the US, North Korea and the US, and China.”

Several events were held on the anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit, including a debate to honor the significance of the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration, which opened the door for the first talks between the leaders of the two Koreas after 52 years of separation, and to examine the Yoon administration’s North Korea policy.

The Justice Party also called on Yoon to “restore the spirit” of the 2000 joint declaration.

“We see ghosts of the past hostile period in the president, who talks as if intensifying military confrontation is the only way forward,” said Kim Hee-seo, chief spokesperson for the Justice Party, in a commentary. “The last thing we should do is deteriorate inter-Korean relations with harsh words only to become powerless in response to provocations.”

By Um Ji-won, staff reporter

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