That’s how President Moon Jae-in defined his final year in office during his special address on Monday to mark the fourth anniversary of his inauguration.
Moon said it’s now time for action after a long period of deliberation.
This comes ahead of his summit with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington on May 21st.
“Through the South Korea-U.S. summit scheduled for late May, we will solidify the bilateral alliance and more closely coordinate our policies toward North Korea to find ways to restore dialogue between the two Koreas and between North Korea and the U.S. and step once again toward peaceful cooperation.”
The South Korean leader welcomed the U.S. policy review on North Korea calling it a flexible, gradual and practical approach that builds upon the foundations laid by the Singapore Declaration.
There have been no significant developments on the denuclearization front since the Hanoi summit between North Korea and the U.S. in 2019.
Moon said he will not be pressured by time or become impatient during the remainder of his term but said he will do everything he can if there is a chance to advance the peace process, and called for a positive response from North Korea.
“There were various responses from North Korea [in regard to the U.S. policy review], but I don’t see that as a rejection of dialogue. I look forward to a positive response from North Korea as we have an opportunity for face-to-face negotiations once again.”
Another goal during the remainder of his tenure is overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.
The president said more than 13 million South Koreans will be given vaccines in the first half of this year and pledged continued efforts to procure more vaccines.
It is speculated that vaccine procurement may also be on the table during the Moon-Biden summit.
President Moon said it’s a shame that South Korea couldn’t start vaccinations sooner, but he reassured the public that the government’s inoculation program is going as scheduled. He said the government is aiming to give first shots to all those eligible by the end of September and achieve herd immunity before the current target of November. Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.