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DP chair asks Moon to send envoys abroad to make peace

Sept 05,2017
One day after the North’s sixth nuclear test, ruling Democratic Party Chairwoman Choo Mi-ae demanded that the regime halt its missile and nuclear programs and urged the Moon Jae-in government on Monday to send special envoys to Washington and Pyongyang.

“We have to prepare for the moment when we will face the prospect of dialogue with the North and negotiation between the North and the U.S.,” Choo said in a speech on Monday, marking the opening of the Assembly’s 100-day regular session, which began on Friday. “To that end, I strongly propose that we send special envoys to North Korea and the U.S. so that we can push for two-track dialogue between the North and the U.S. and between the South and North.”

Choo said the only way Pyongyang can guarantee its survival is through suspending its nuclear and missile programs and then seeking dialogue.

“The Moon Jae-in government and the Democratic Party will sternly deal with the North’s reckless provocations, which create a security crisis,” she said, “by employing every diplomatic and military means.”

Choo’s message was delivered to about two-thirds of the Assembly’s lawmakers because the largest opposition Liberty Korea Party, which has 107 lawmakers under its wing, did not show up at the main chamber as they were boycotting all parliamentary activity in protest of an arrest warrant issued for Kim Jang-kyom, CEO of the local broadcaster MBC.

Choo’s warning that the North would only be assured of its security if it ends its nuclear program is in line with President Moon Jae-in’s warning to the North, delivered the day before in his opening remarks at a National Security Council session convened in response to its nuclear test, in which he said the only path for the North to ensure its safety is by entering into dialogue after declaring a halt to its nuclear program.

While strongly condemning the latest nuclear test, Choo said what is clear is the fact that nuclear warheads will fail to protect the Kim Jong-un regime.

“In the post-Cold War era, having a nuclear arsenal no longer guarantees the avoidance of war because of the imbalance of strategic military assets,” she said. “In other words, a successful nuclear program no longer guarantees regime survival.”

Though Choo appealed to the Moon government to send special envoys to the United States and the North, heightened tension in the region and angry responses by Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump make this proposition unlikely.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]