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S. Korea to actively seeks int'l cooperation for unification

2014/02/28 11:14

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will ramp up efforts to muster the international community's cooperation in its push to unify the two divided Koreas, the foreign minister said Friday.

"(I) will make efforts aggressively and proactively to create an environment favorable to the peaceful unification (of South and North Korea)," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said in a local forum.

"The coming four years will mark a watershed in (South Korea's efforts) to build peace on the Korean Peninsula."

   After taking office a year earlier, President Park Geun-hye has declared pushing for the unification of the two Koreas as her key policy. The 1950-53 Korean War divided the peninsula into the capitalist South and the communist North.

Park's push for unification reflects the benefits unification would bring in the security sector as well as the much-expected benefits in the economic front, Yun said.

In her previous national and international addresses, the president has stressed that the reunification of the two countries would lead to an economic bonanza.

The minister said that Pyongyang may be now faced with a third round of challenges in terms of changing international politics, following the challenges in the 1970's when communist China established diplomatic relations with the United States. Additional difficulties occurred when the Berlin Wall was demolished in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990's, he said.

"I think now is a time when an upheaval is taking place simultaneously regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula as well as in world politics," Yun noted.

"How North Korea will ride out this time will be a key point of interest," he said.

South Korea will take a dual policy of using both pressure and dialogue in its efforts to make Pyongyang give up its nuclear weapons program, the minister said, reiterating that the Park administration's strategy is aimed at denuclearizing North Korea and handling inter-Korean affairs.

"North Korea is seeking dialogue offensives, but it has not shown any changes (in terms of the South's calls) for denuclearization. Rather, the country is even further advancing its nuclear capacities," he said. "The policy of using both effective sanctions toward the North and principled denuclearization talks will be sought."

   As part of the North's recent rapprochement gestures, the two countries held their unusual high-level talks and reunions of inter-Korean families separated by the civil war earlier in the month.

Also touching on Seoul's relations with Beijing, the foreign minister said that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit South Korea later this year.