S Korean prez candidate wants to extend aid to N Korea

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Seoul, Aug 17: Moon Jae-in, the popular opposition presidential candidate in South Korea, said on Friday that if elected, he would opt unconditional economic aid to North Korea. Moon, 59, a former human rights lawyer and chief of staff to the late President Roh Moo-yun, said the two Korea's needed to engage with each other to move beyond the ongoing stalemate. The two countries have remained technically at war.

If Moon's idea materialises in the future, it will be a radical departure from the current scenario. It can be mentioned here that President Roo Moo-hyun had worked on an open policy towards Pyongyang but his policies were later overturned by his conservative successor and current President Lee Myung-bak.

Moon said the Myung-bak administration had certain reservations in resuming talks with North Korea. Saying the current government had reservations in responding to Pyongyang because of its nuclear designs, Moon said such rigidity makes it difficult to take progressive step.

It is learnt that North Korea's current ruler Kim Jong-un was more willing to open up his regime compared to his father and predecessor Kim Jong-il. Kim Jong-un succeeded his father after the latter's demise in 2011. North Korea lags far behind South Korea in terms of economic development.

The North Korean leader's close aide and uncle Jang Song-thaek is currently touring Beijing, asking Beijing for economic cooperation. This has worried Moon, who said South Korea must take a lead in reducing the gap with North Korea or else the latter would end up being a satellite of China.

Moon, who has 10 per cent poll support against conservative Park Guen-hye, has 36 per cent approval rating ahead of the presidential election scheduled later this year.

Park, the daughter of the country's assassinated dictator, Park Chung-hee, said Pyongyang must let go its nuclear ambitions before Seoul extends it a hand of cooperation.

OneIndia News

(With Reuters inputs)

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