Seoul: South Korean president Moon Jae-in's top security advisor on Monday voiced a need to resume talks with North Korea, though he said the dialogue must not get in the way of international sanctions against the communist state.
"We will have to try and gradually resume dialogue, starting with working-level talks," Yonhap news agency quoted Chung Eui-yong, the head of National Security Office, as saying.
"I believe we must review the possibility as I believe we could resume exchanges in various areas, such as personnel, social, cultural and sports, as long as they do not undermine the international framework of sanctions against North Korea," he said.
Moon has repeatedly stressed a need to engage the North through dialogue to rid the reclusive nation of its nuclear weapons, though he has also noted that the resumption of dialogue will only be possible under right conditions.
Chung reaffirmed that Seoul will not reward the North for its provocations, but again stressed the need for dialogue.
"We will sternly deal with any provocation. It is also important to enhance our defence capability to deter and prevent North Korea's additional provocations," he said.
Still, he insisted "we must restore dialogue (with North Korea) at an early date for a fundamental reduction of tension".
During his meeting with Joo Ho-young, the floor leader of the minor conservative Bareun Party, Chung displayed his resolve to root out corruption in the defence industry, long blamed for eroding the country's military capabilities.
Chung said he plans to create a "defence reform" team under his office, which will mainly deal with corrupt practices in the industry, Joo said.
He also noted Moon's policy stance that Seoul will seek dialogue and negotiations with Pyongyang based on "overwhelming" military capabilities.
Updated Date: May 22, 2017 19:34 PM