South Korean President Yoon offers Koim Yong-un ‘bold plan’

SSouth Korea’s new President Yoon Suk-yeol announced full nuclear disarmament after being sworn in North Korea demanded – and thus announced a sharper tone in the inner-Korean conflict. In his inaugural speech at the National Assembly in Seoul on Tuesday, Yoon said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons pose a threat to South Korea’s, the region’s and the world’s security.

“If North Korea truly commits to a full denuclearization process, we will come up with a bold plan that will significantly strengthen North Korea’s economy and improve people’s quality of life,” the 61-year-old politician promised. “The door to dialogue will remain open so that we can resolve this threat peacefully.” Analysts, on the other hand, are of the opinion that such maximum demands mean that there is no chance of a dialogue with North Korea’s rulers Kim Jong Un should destroy.

Yoon began his work with a safety briefing on North Korea in an underground bunker. Pyongyang had conducted a total of 15 missile tests since the beginning of the year, two of them in the week before Yoon’s inauguration.

Yoon Suk-yeoul supporters greet the future president as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony.

Yoon Suk-yeoul supporters greet the future president as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony.

Image: EPA

In his inaugural speech, Yoon promised to improve relations with regional powers China and Japan. The leader of the world’s 10th largest economy pointed to “numerous” global crises such as the pandemic and supply chain problems. “These complex, multifaceted crises cast a long and dark shadow over us,” he said, while trying to convey optimism: “The Koreans have never let themselves down; we have become stronger and wiser,” he said.

A total of around 40,000 people attended Yoon’s inauguration celebrations. Army bands and soldiers in Guard uniform marched at the ceremony, cannons fired a 21-gun salute. Yoon’s predecessor, Moon Jae-in, who had been rather reserved towards the North, attended the ceremony together with former President Park Geun-hye, who had just been pardoned by him. She was in prison for a corruption scandal.

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