General

South Korea offers economic incentives to North in return for denuclearization

The South Korean president on Monday offered economic incentives to rival North Korea in return for denuclearization and vowed to set on track bilateral relations with Japan, local media reported.

Speaking at an event in his office on the occasion of Liberation Day, Yoon Suk-yeol said his government will improve relations with Japan on the basis of the 1998 joint declaration.

"In the past, we had to unshackle ourselves from the political control imposed upon us by imperial Japan so that we could regain and defend our freedom," Yonhap News Agency quoted Yoon as saying.

South Korea marked the 77th year of independence from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

"Today, Japan is our partner as we face common threats that challenge the freedom of global citizens," he added.

Bilateral relations worsened between Tokyo and Seoul during the administration of former South Korean President Moon Jae-in as the two sides launched rival tariffs on imports.

He also offered economic incentives to North Korea in return for denuclearization and said Pyongyang's denuclearization is "essential" for peace in the region.

“The audacious initiative that I envision will significantly improve North Korea's economy and its people's livelihoods in stages if the North ceases the development of its nuclear program and embarks on a genuine and substantive process for denuclearization," the agency quoted Yoon as saying.

"We will implement a large-scale food program; provide assistance for power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure; and carry out projects to modernize ports and airports for international trade," he added.

Tension on the peninsula rose in 2020 when North Korea attacked and blew up the inter-Korean liaison office along the border. Seoul warned of a strong response if Pyongyang "further worsens the situation."

However, tensions soared further last year when both Seoul and Pyongyang ramped up drills to show off their military might.

The US and South Korea have extended several offers of dialogue to North Korea to ease current tensions on the peninsula, but North Korea has not responded.

Source: Anadolu Agency