Meetings with Kim should be for tangible results: S.Korean Prez-elect

Seoul, May 7 (IANS) South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol said he is willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but any talks should be made only when they would produce tangible results on the North’s denuclearization or cross-border exchanges.

“There is no reason to shun meetings (with Kim). But if such meetings are only for show and fail to make practical results on the denuclearization and our economic assistance to the North, they will not be helpful for denuclearizing the North and advancing the inter-Korean relationship,” Yonhap News Agency reported on Saturday citing Yoon as saying in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA).

Asked about any preconditions for a possible summit with Kim, Yoon said they would be set via working-level consultations with Pyongyang.

He, however, pointed to the need to boost inter-Korean exchanges in the cultural and sports fields “as Korean people”.

“It is crucial to send consistent signals and messages to the North (with regards to its nuclear programmes) . We will review and prepare for programs designed to significantly improve North Korea’s economic situation, which will be implemented when North Korea takes irreversible denuclearization steps.”

Outgoing President Moon Jae-in and Kim held three rounds of summits in 2018, but inter-Korean relations have thawed and the peace process has stalled since the no-deal end of the 2019 Hanoi summit between Pyongyang’s leader and former US President Donald Trump.

Yoon, the conservative former top prosecutor, is set to be sworn in Tuesday amid heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea has carried out a serious of ballistic missile tests and there have been signs of Pyongyang’s preparations for another nuclear test.