South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed efforts to prepare for the resumption of inter-Korean economic cooperation Monday, stressing the need to take the lead in developing the impoverished North.
"Should North Korea's economy be opened, neighbouring countries, international organizations and global funds will take part. In the process, we must not lose our leadership," the president said in a weekly meeting with his aides held at his office Cheong Wa Dae.
"We are the masters of our own fate on the Korean Peninsula," he added, according to South Korean News Agency (Yonhap).
Moon's remarks came about a week after he offered to resume inter-Korean economic cooperation as part of corresponding measures the U.S. may offer to the North in exchange for the North's denuclearization steps.
In his telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday, the South Korean president insisted the resumption of inter-Korean economic cooperation would help accelerate the North's denuclearization process. The U.S. president is set to hold his second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi on Wednesday and Thursday.
The South Korean president welcomed the second-ever U.S.-North Korea summit. "The two leaders of the North and the U.S. have come this far after walking the path that no one else walked before," Moon noted.
"Should President Trump succeed in dismantling the last remaining Cold War regime on earth, it would be another great achievement that will clearly go down in the history of the world," he added, vowing all-out support and cooperation for the U.S.-North Korea summit. He also praised the North Korean leader for choosing economic development over nuclear weapons.
"The reason we support the two leaders (Trump and Kim) and wish for the success of their summit is because it will be a critical chance to remove dangers of war and security issues on the Korean Peninsula and move toward an era of peace and economic development," he told the meeting, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
The president vowed efforts to prepare for what he calls a new Korean Peninsula regime. "We will actively prepare for the new Korean Peninsula regime that will move from war and confrontation to peace and coexistence, from factionalism and ideology to economy and prosperity, while standing not in the periphery but at the center of history," he said. The president did not elaborate on the new Korean Peninsula regime but has said the reconnection of inter-Korean railways and roads may be a start.
"President Moon said the country is ready to play that role by reconnecting inter-Korean railways and roads and launching inter-Korean economic cooperation projects if asked by President Trump," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom has said of Moon's latest telephone conversation with President Trump, Yonhap reported.