South Korean President Moon Jae In on Monday vowed to resume inter-Korean as well as U.S.-North Korea talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, in a speech delivered at the start of his last year as president amid a falling support rate.
As the administration of the U.S. President Joe Biden completed its review on North Korea policies in late April following cooperation with the South Korean government, Moon said it is time to take action to bring peace to the peninsula and that the remaining one year of his term will be the last chance to "go forward to irreversible peace from incomplete peace."
"Through the South Korea-U.S. summit scheduled in late May, while strengthening the South Korea-U.S. alliance, we will find ways to take a step toward peaceful cooperation and resume talks between South Korea and North Korea as well as the United States and North Korea," Moon said.
With his support rate down to 36 percent, Moon also vowed to accelerate the rate at which the coronavirus vaccine is being administered in the nation in order to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible.
"Herd immunity may not be able to terminate COVID-19 but it will make the disease less dangerous and help us return to our normal routines," said Moon, who also promised there would be a recovery in jobs and the economy.
Moon's renewed pledge on the fight against COVID-19 follows problems in securing enough vaccines at an early stage.
Skyrocketing housing prices have also weighed on his low support rate, which was reflected in the results of the mayoral by-elections held in Seoul and Busan, the nation's two biggest cities, on April 7. The major opposition party People Power Party won landslide victories in both cities.
Moon said to reporters after delivering the speech that he had no excuse for the soaring housing prices, maintaining that he will revise the policies related to the issue following discussions with the ruling Democratic Party, the government and the presidential office.
Meanwhile, he did not mention South Korea-Japan relations, which have sunk to their lowest level in decades over issues related to wartime history.