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Moon says N. Korea walking on thin ice, but peaceful end still possible

2017/12/06 15:52

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SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in reiterated his determination to peacefully end North Korea's nuclear ambitions Wednesday, saying the communist state is walking on thin ice, but a peaceful solution is still possible.

"The South-North Korean relations are still not so good. The tension between the South and the North is at its peak, and so it is a very cautious situation as if we are walking on thin ice," the president said while meeting with the leaders of seven leading religious orders, including the Buddhist, Protestant and Catholic faiths.

President Moon Jae-in (fifth from R) takes a group photo with South Korea's top religious leaders after a meeting at his office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Dec. 6, 2017. (Yonhap) President Moon Jae-in (fifth from R) takes a group photo with South Korea's top religious leaders after a meeting at his office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Dec. 6, 2017. (Yonhap)

Moon's remarks came a week after Pyongyang launched an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile in its first military provocation in over two months.

"But I am not all pessimistic. I believe a crisis may well turn into an opportunity, and the night is the darkest just before the dawn. When we overcome this ongoing crisis, I am sure it will turn into an opportunity to dramatically improve the South-North relations," Moon said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

Wednesday's meeting marked the first of its kind since Moon took office in May following his victory in a rare presidential by-election caused by the ouster of his conservative predecessor Park Geun-hye.

The new president said the country and its economy were rather doing well, considering the massive corruption scandals that led to the removal of the former leader and ensuing political turbulence.

Moon noted the country's economy was expected to expand 3 percent this year, with its trade volume also expected to exceed US$1 trillion for a second year in a row.

"The economy is doing well on the macro level as I explained, but the problem is that benefits of the economic boom are not reaching our ordinary households and that the youth jobless rate continues to remain serious," he said.

"The government will do its utmost to ensure economic growth with the approved budget and also make sure the growth will help improve the livelihoods of the people. It will also make special efforts to resolve the issue of jobs for the youth."

   bdk@yna.co.kr

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