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Presidential hopeful eyes multiple levels of dialogue with North Korea

2017/03/02 17:43

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- Liberal presidential hopeful Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo said on Thursday he would push for multiple levels of dialogue with North Korea, including four-party talks involving the United States, China and the two Koreas.

In a debate hosted by the association of foreign correspondents in Seoul, the former chief of the splinter People's Party said he would pursue a path of inter-Korean reconciliation, the North's denuclearization and ultimately a peace treaty among the stakeholders, he said.

"We will have to resume the six-party talks and return to the negotiating table to freeze the North Korean nuclear weapons and weapons programs, put a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing, and put inspectors and monitoring cameras back in place at the nuclear reactor sites in North Korea," Ahn said.

The six-party talks involving South and North Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia were halted some eight years ago.

He also proposed the revival of the format of four-party talks which were conducted between 1996 and 1999. He reminded reporters that the goal of the talks was tension reduction and permanent peace on the peninsula.

Ahn emphasized such diplomatic efforts should be backed by robust deterrence and that North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations should not be tolerated.

He said South Korea will enhance its military alliance with the United States and beef up its own air and missile defense systems against North Korea's growing threats.

Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, a potential presidential candidate from the People's Party, speaks with foreign correspondents in Seoul on March 2, 2017. (Yonhap) Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, a potential presidential candidate from the People's Party, speaks with foreign correspondents in Seoul on March 2, 2017. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr

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