10 May 2022
South Korea's new President Yoon Suk-yeol has offered North Korea an economic assistance plan in exchange for giving up its nuclear weapons program.
Yoon made the offer Tuesday during a speech at his official swearing-in ceremony in Seoul. He said his government is ready to work with the international community to present "an audacious plan" to resolve North Korea's nuclear threat.
Yoon is beginning his five-year term after North Korea launched a series of missile tests in recent months.
During his campaign, Yoon promised to take a stronger position on North Korea than former president Moon Jae-in. Yoon said he wants to strengthen South Korea's 70-year military alliance with the United States. And he wants to build up South Korea's own missile program to defend against North Korean threats.
Yoon presented his speech Tuesday to a crowd gathered outside of parliament. "While North Korea's nuclear weapons programs are a threat...the door to dialogue will remain open so that we can peacefully resolve this threat," he said.
Yoon added that his proposed plan could greatly "strengthen North Korea's economy and improve the quality of life for its people."
Yoon did not provide many details about the plan. But his national security advisor, Kim Sung-han, spoke to Reuters in February. Kim said Yoon's team could offer North Korea quick sanctions reduction or economic aid in exchange for denuclearization measures.
In addition to the recent missile tests, U.S. and South Korean officials have warned that North Korea might be preparing for its first nuclear weapons test since 2017.
Yoon spoke about South Korea's growing economic problems. He said a worsening job market and expanding income inequalities had led to growing political divisions in the country. Yoon promised to carry out new policies aimed at improving economic growth to help all citizens.
After his ceremony, Yoon moved to a new office at a former defense ministry building. He held his first meeting with advisors and appointed seven cabinet nominees who had passed confirmation hearings. They included the finance and defense ministers.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press and Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
audacious – adj. very bold and shocking
dialogue – n. formal talks or negotiations
sanction – n. an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country
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