|Chung Eui-yong, then head of the Republic of Korea's presidential National Security Office, walks to board an aircraft as he leaves for Pyongyang at a military airport in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Sept 5, 2018. (File photo by=JUNG YEON-JE / POOL / AFP)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] SEOUL: Seoul's top diplomat announced on Wednesday that North Korea's recent missile test underscores the need for engaging the reclusive state and sanctions relief can be considered as part of incentives to bring it back to the negotiating table.
Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong spoke during a parliamentary audit session, hours after the North said it had successfully test-fired a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Tuesday. "We should take some actions to prevent North Korea from further developing its nuclear and missile capabilities," Chung said. "Sanctions relief can be considered as part of efforts, on condition that the North accepts the dialogue proposal."When asked whether Washington is on the same page with Seoul for the conditions-based easing of sanctions, Chung said, "The U.S. has consistently made it clear that it can discuss any issues at the negotiating table if the North returns to talks."
Meanwhile, North Korea has faced worsening economic woes due to continued U.N. sanctions implemented in response to its nuclear and missile tests, including COVID-19 lockdowns and bad weather. Regarding the stand-offs between Seoul and Tokyo, meanwhile, Chung said the government remains committed to efforts for mending bilateral ties in cooperation with the administration of new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.