Moon says denuclearization key to Korean Peninsula peace
John Goodrich
The Republic of Korea (ROK)'s President Moon Jae-in has hailed Tuesday’s meeting with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), but said denuclearization remained fundamental to achieving peace and the talks were just a starting point.
“Denuclearization is our goal and we will work hard to achieve this goal,” Moon said during a speech outlining his priorities for the year ahead. “This is our fundamental stance, we will not change it. Peace is needed for our people’s happy life.”
Moon reiterated that his “goal was to prevent war,” emphasized the importance of a peaceful Korean Peninsula to the happiness of all, and said he did not want immediate reunification. He added that he was open to an inter-Korean summit, but only when conditions are met.
Moon was speaking the day after the DPRK and the ROK held their first talks in two years. The two sides agreed that military to military talks would be held and that the DPRK would send a large delegation to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang this year. There was no clear progress on the subject of denuclearization.
The Republic of Korea's President Moon Jae-in delivers 2018 New Year Address, January 10, 2018. /VCG Photo

The Republic of Korea's President Moon Jae-in delivers 2018 New Year Address, January 10, 2018. /VCG Photo

The president said he wanted the Games in PyeongChang to be a “peace Olympics,” and noted that US President Donald Trump supported the DPRK delegation attending the event. He added that he hoped to work closely with China, Japan, the US and other countries to achieve peace. 
"There must never be another war on the Korean Peninsula. The ultimate goal of our foreign and defense policies is to prevent a recurrence of war on the Korean Peninsula," said Moon.
Moon also addressed the issue of “comfort women,” days after it was announced that the ROK would not seek to renegotiate a deal on the subject with Japan. He said the issue can be truly resolved only with Japan's sincere apology, but added that it was important to “separate historical issues and future cooperation.”
Initially focusing on domestic issues with a speech themed on “delivering happiness,” Moon emphasized the importance of increased employment, making businesses more competitive and clawing back power from tycoons.
Moon also reiterated his support for amendment of the country’s constitution, last updated in 1987, to better reflect social and political changes. A national referendum on the issue is slated for June.
"The Constitution is a bowl that holds the daily lives of the people. Our people's thoughts about the government's responsibility and role and the people's rights have changed dramatically from 30 years ago. We cannot uphold the thoughts of the people with an old constitution that is 30 years old," the president said.