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Korea Aerospace Industries : Dialogue with N. Korea top political agenda

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07/21/2017 | 02:51am CEST

The Moon Jae-in government will seek an agreement with North Korea by 2020 for its denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and an updated relationship with Pyongyang, according to its policy roadmap announced Wednesday.

Achieving joint prosperity by resolving the nuclear programs issue and increasing inter-Korean exchanges will be a goal for the administration's five-year term, it said.

The presidential advisory committee, a de facto transition team, said the government will seek to restart talks with the North with the aim of reaching an agreement by 2020 for complete nuclear disarmament.

"The government will pursue restoring inter-Korean communication lines and holding talks regularly. If the circumstances are right, it will also seek to open meetings of high-ranking officials and form an inter-Korean agreement based on declarations reached under previous liberal governments," said Lee Su-hoon, who is in charge of foreign affairs and security at the committee.

Such an agreement, if reached, will require the National Assembly's ratification and support from United Nations members, he added.

The plan is in line with Moon's earlier speech in Berlin, in which the President presented a set of peace overtures, including a peace treaty with Pyongyang, despite the latter's recent test-firing of a long-range ballistic missile.

For the goal, the government will use all possible options, both sanctions and engagement, and pursue negotiations for a peace treaty if the denuclearization process is set in motion.

"If the conditions are right, we will discuss the re-opening of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex and the resumption of tours to Mount Geumgang, as well as economic cooperation over natural resources, logistics and tourism," Lee said.

The policy roadmap also includes plans to reinforce national security and defense, such as increasing the defense budget and speeding up the deployment of the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike and the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) systems.

The government will also seek to have wartime operational control transferred to Seoul as soon as possible, as agreed in the summit between Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Another agenda item is to root out corruption in the defense industry, a drive which the Moon government recently launched by investigating Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration for their alleged illegalities in the development of the Surion utility helicopter.

The government also plans to reduce the period of mandatory military service from the current 21 months to 18 months, and gradually increase conscripted soldiers' salary.

Better communication, expanded political rights

The committee said the new government will be more open to the people, communicating better with citizens, transparently opening state affairs and reflecting the opinions of citizens in policies.

As per Moon's election pledge, the government plans to move the presidential office from Cheong Wa Dae to the Government Complex in Gwanghwamun, in an effort to better communicate with public officials and citizens.

The government will also seek to expand people's political rights by easing rules for referenda, adopting recall of lawmakers, lowering the voting age from 19 to 18, and guaranteeing civil servants and teachers the right to political activities.

The National Intelligence Service will focus on foreign intelligence for security rather than domestic surveillance. The National Human Rights Commission will be expanded and have more independence in personnel affairs and budget, to become politically independent.

The government will also set up fact-finding bodies for historic events which involved the killing of civilians, such as the May 18 Gwangju Uprising, to better compensate the victims' families.

For better communication with municipalities and more autonomy for them, it will seek to revise the law to set up a "Second Cabinet" meeting with mayors and governors of the 17 local governments.

(c) 2017 Korea Times Co. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers

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