President Roh Tae-woo Thursday announced a six-point plan to ease 40 years of bitter confrontation with communist North Korea and clear the way for peaceful reunification of the divided peninsula.
In a nationally televised speech, the president called for broad trade, humanitarian, cultural and political contacts with the north to normalize relations and end the struggle for supremacy."I believe we have now come to a historic moment when we should be able to find a breakthrough toward a lasting peace and unification on the Korean peninsula," Roh said.
He called for an end to international rivalry between the two Koreas in foreign diplomacy, saying the two nations should work together instead of competing for international backing and trying to isolate each other.
"We hope to bring an end to counterproductive diplomacy characterized by competition and confrontation between the south and the north . . . We also hope that representatives of South and North Korea will contact each other freely in international forums," he said.
Roh's proposals did not go as far as a call by President Chun Doo-hwan for a meeting with North Korean President Kim Il Sung in 1981 that never took place. Roh said more measures would be taken if North Korea "will positively respond to the measures outlined."