Ruling party chief Lee Han-chan said Monday he will try to help this week's summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un make progress in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
"After all, the most pressing point of interest is how to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Lee said during a meeting of Democratic Party leaders on the eve of Moon's trip to Pyongyang. "I will travel together (with Moon) and make my best efforts to help the talks to produce good results."
Noting that Moon is expected to hold talks with US President Donald Trump after this week's inter-Korean summit, Lee also said he looks forward earnestly to this week's meeting producing a "significant turning point in bringing about an era of peace and co-existence" on the divided peninsula.
Moon is scheduled to fly to Pyongyang on Tuesday for a three-day visit. It will be the third time he has met with the North's leader and follows their first summit on April 27 and a second meeting on May 27. Both talks took place at the border village of Panmunjom.
This week's talks take place amid an impasse in the denuclearization process launched after the historic summit between Trump and the North's leader in June. Hopes are high that Moon will use the talks with Kim to try to broker a breakthrough in the nuclear negotiations.
Rep. Hong Young-pyo, floor leader of the ruling party, also expressed hope for peace.
"If we say that April's Panmunjom Declaration (adopted after the first summit) opened the flood gate of peace on the Korean Peninsula, this week's third summit will be a meeting that will make the waterway of peace broader and deeper," Hong said.
"I hope this trip to the North will serve as a cornerstone in solidifying the foundation of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and realizing co-prosperity of the Korean people," he said.
Hong also urged opposition parties to agree to ratify April's agreement.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party criticized the government for including leading business tycoons, such as Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, in the South's delegation to the North.
"If we look at the composition of the delegation, it's confusing whether this is a trip aimed at brokering denuclearization or aimed at realizing inter-Korean economic cooperation," Rep. Kim Sung-tae, floor leader of the LKP, said during a party meeting.
"We shouldn't forget that North Korea is still subject to UN sanctions and the biggest agenda item of this summit is denuclearization," he said. (Yonhap)