Yoon Suk Yeol, offer economic assistance to North Korea

Yoon Suk Yeol, offer economic assistance to North Korea

 In a speech celebrating the end of Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula, President Yoon also called for better relations with Japan. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday (15/8) offered economic assistance to North Korea (North Korea) if Pyongyang abandoned its nuclear weapons program. Yoon's televised speech came days after North Korea issued a controversial statement that it had successfully contained Covid-19 and would retaliate against South Korea after accusing Seoul of causing the outbreak.

 Yoon called the two countries partners in facing the challenge to freedom and said their shared values   would help address historical grievances related to Japan's brutal colonial rule, before the end of World War II. North Korea insists that leaflets and other objects flown across the border by activists are responsible for the spread of the virus, although the claim is unscientific and is called by Seoul as ridiculous. North Korea has a history of pressuring the South when it doesn't get what it wants from the United States, and there are fears that North Korea's threats signal an imminent provocation, which could possibly take the form of a nuclear or missile test or even a border skirmish. 

Some experts say North Korea could stir up tensions around joint US and South Korean military exercises starting next week. Yoon, a conservative who took office last May, said North Korea's denuclearization would be the key to peace in the region and the world. "If North Korea stops developing its nuclear weapons and is truly committed to the process of denuclearization, South Korea will respond with huge economic rewards that will be provided in stages," President Yoon said.
Yoon's proposal is not much different from an earlier South Korean offer that North Korea has rejected. Pyongyang has even accelerated its efforts to expand its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program which is seen by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as the country's strongest guarantee of survival. 

"We will roll out a large-scale program to provide food, provide assistance to build infrastructure for electricity production, transmission and distribution, and roll out projects to modernize ports and airports to facilitate trade," said President Yoon. "We will also help increase North Korea's agricultural production, provide assistance to modernize its hospitals and medical infrastructure, and carry out initiatives to enable international investment and financial support," he added. Inter-Korean relations have deteriorated following a stalemate in nuclear negotiations between Washington DC and Pyongyang since 2019.

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