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S. Korean President Pledges to Restore Dialogue with N. Korea

FILE - South Korean President Moon Jae-in talks on the phone with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 24, 2020.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is vowing to spend his final year in office trying to finally bring a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

In a nationally televised speech Monday from Seoul, President Moon said this last year of his single five-year term may be “the last opportunity to move from an incomplete peace toward one that is irreversible.”

Moon threw his support behind U.S. President Joe Biden’s “flexible, gradual and practical” diplomatic approach in achieving denuclearization. Biden’s foreign policy team has concluded a review of the North Korean stalemate, which officials have signaled will rely on incremental steps towards persuading the regime to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile program.

The South Korean leader said his goals for his upcoming summit with Biden on May 21 in Washington will be to “restore dialogue between the two Koreas and the United States and North Korea.”

President Moon has championed greater engagement between Seoul and Pyongyang since taking office in 2017. His outreach led to three historic summits between himself and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as two historic summits between Kim and then-U.S. President Donald Trump. But the overtures ended after Trump and Kim’s second summit in Vietnam in 2019 failed to resolve the matter of U.S.-led sanctions imposed on the North.