Yoon Suk-yeol, the
new South Korean president, has a plan for North Korea that might help resolve
one of the most persistent geopolitical problems of the last century. Yoon, who
won the elections in March this year, speaking on the first day of his
presidency on Tuesday, said that if North Korea carries out its pledge to
denuclearise, South Korea will have an audacious plan to help its neighbour.

“While North Korea’s
nuclear weapons programme are a threat not only to our security and that of
North-east Asia, the door to dialogue will remain open so that we can
peacefully resolve this threat,” Yoon Suk-yeol said at his address to the
National Assembly Plaza.

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“If North Korea
genuinely embarks on a process to complete denuclearisation, we are prepared to
work with the international community to present an audacious plan that will
vastly strengthen North Korea’s economy and improve the quality of life of it’s
people,” the South Korean president added.

It’s not as if
Yoon Suk-yeol always sought good relations with Pyongyang. He was among those
political leaders who wanted to the South Korean government to take stronger
steps against Kim Jong-un.

Yoon’s olive
branch comes at a time when North Korea is planning to conduct a nuclear test. “The
door to dialogue will remain open so that we can peacefully resolve this
threat.” Pyongyang, on the other hand, inaugurated the South Korean president’s
regime with a volley of nuclear threats.

Yoon’s, however,
is not the first offer for peace made to North Korea. Previously, Pyongyang has
summarily rejected incentives
tied to abandoning its nuclear weapons and
ballistic missiles.  

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A conservative,
Yoon seems to be concerned that Kim Jong-un may raise the stakes with his
nuclear tests. Both South Korea and the United States anticipate Pyongyang to conduct
its first nuclear tests since 2017 by the end of this month. This could happen
around the time Yoon meets US President Joe Biden.

During an earlier
meeting with Kim Jong-un, Yoon’s overtures of peace failed to make a great deal
of progress. Speaking on not being able to show results, Yoon told an American
television show that while there’s no reason to avoid meeting, “…if we are not
able to show any results, or results are just for show and does not have any
actual outcomes in denuclearisation…it’s not going to help the relationship
between the two Koreas to progress.”