South Korea leader promises ‘audacious’ step to achieve peace treaty with North

South Korea leader promises ‘audacious’ step to achieve peace treaty with North

Describing what he envisioned as a "railroad community", the transport system would include several other countries including China, Mongolia, Russia and Japan, Moon said on Wednesday.

Shin Se-min reports. True liberation, he said, means putting an end to the division of the two Koreas.

Moon compared this initiative to the gradually expanding ties that Europe instituted after World War II, starting with a six-nation coal and steel community and eventually culminating in the European Union.

Moon will become just the third South Korean president to travel to the North Korean capital.

The Kaesong complex was shut down in February 2016 by a former conservative government in response to North Korea's fourth nuclear test a month earlier.

"Peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula depends on what we do".

In pitching an optimistic forecast of a future based on a nuclear-free North Korea, he said the impact from fully realized inter-Korean economic cooperation could reach "170 trillion won [$149.8 billion] at a minimum over the next 30 years", citing government research.

North Korea wants economic concessions after each step of the denuclearization process.

However, the president said inter-Korean cooperation may take off in earnest only after the North completely denuclearizes.

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"I am happy to see that South and North Korea have come together to compete as one team, and the people are all behind you", Yonhap news agency quoted him as saying at the national training center.

Moon, who was elected to office in 2017, has been an advocate of closer relations with North Korea in an attempt to bring peace to the peninsula.

Moon also stressed the need to resume and expand economic cooperation between the two Koreas.

The South Korean president helped bring about the historic summit in June between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore.

He said he hoped for speedy progress in talks between the United States and North Korea, with steps by Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programmes matched by "corresponding comprehensive measures" from Washington. The invitation was issued in June but the Kremlin said Pyongyang had yet to respond.

"Developments in inter-Korean relations are not the byproducts of progress in the relationship between the North and the United States".

Moon insisted the two Koreas were already moving toward peace, noting the countries have halted their hostile acts under an agreement reached at his first-ever summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held April 27.

The South Korean leader also voiced support for a peace declaration to formally end the Korean War, to replace the armistice in place since 1953 that suspended hostilities.

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