Park receptive to talks with North
“It is fortunate that North Korea displayed an improved stance on inter-Korean dialogue and exchange in its New Year address,” she said in her opening speech at the year’s first Cabinet meeting on Tuesday at the Blue House.
“But because inter-Korean relations failed to achieve persistent progress in the past and underwent many twists and turns, what’s important at this point is that the North shows through action its sincerity and willingness to carry out improved inter-Korean relations.”
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule and the division between the North and the South, Park noted, and it is imperative for the nation to proceed with the fundamental operations needed to overcome the pains of separation and open an era of unification on the Korean Peninsula.
The president’s comments mark her first official response to the North Korean leader’s open proposal for a summit with her during his address on New Year’s Day.
In her message, Park suggested that Pyongyang accept Seoul’s offer made on Dec. 29 for a minister-level meeting this month between the two Koreas.
The cabinet meeting on Tuesday drew attention from both the general public and analysts, particularly because it came a day after the prosecution unveiled the interim outcome of its month-long investigation into a leaked Blue House document, which prompted the biggest political scandal within the Park administration. However, the president made no mention of the incident.
She went on to reiterate the importance of 2015, the year her administration passes its halfway point. “Cabinet members are advised to bear in mind that unless the economy is revived this year, it will lose its last chance to lift itself up,” Park said.
To that end, overhauling the nature of the local economy is necessary, she said. The youth job market stands at a stalemate due to an inflexible and twofold labor sector, as well as a financial market wallowed in protectionism.
These are just some of the examples of the “artery hardening phenomena” taking place in this society, Park added, and overhauling the economy, including improving the labor market its overall structure, will only resolve those problems.
The president is expected to provide a more detailed blueprint for the New Year during her upcoming address to the nation during a press conference, tentatively on Monday, according to Blue House sources.
Like last year, she will deliver a nearly 30-minute address followed by a question-and-answer session with presidential and foreign correspondents at the Blue House.
BY SEO JI-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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