South Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in (center) of the Democratic Party and his party members watch screens showing the result of exit polls of the presidential election at a hall of the National Assembly in Seoul on May 9, 2017. (JUNG Yeon-Je / AFP)
SEOUL - Lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party of the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Thursday stressed the importance for dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to resolve the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue.
The emphasis on the peaceful resolution through dialogue came as the parliamentary inspection of the government kicked off. The first inspection session under the Moon Jae-in administration, which was inaugurated in May, would last for about three weeks.
Though sanctions and pressure are a necessary tool to deal with the advanced nuclear and missile technologies of the DPRK, its eventual objective should be dialogue and negotiations
representative of the Democratic Party
Rep. Shim Jae-kwon of the Democratic Party, who serves in the parliamentary committee of foreign affairs and reunification, said in a press release that though sanctions and pressure are a necessary tool to deal with the advanced nuclear and missile technologies of the DPRK, its eventual objective should be dialogue and negotiations.
Shim, the head of the committee, said inter-Korean dialogue would be needed at any cost, emphasizing the urgency of restoring hot line between the ROK and the DPRK under the current situations that tensions escalated on the peninsula.
Rep. Park Byeong-seug of the governing party said talks with the DPRK should start before the country completes the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the United States, which he claimed would be a "game changer."
The Moon administration had proposed to Pyongyang holding military talks to prevent possible accidental conflicts near the inter-Korean border as well as dialogue to resolve humanitarian issues, but the DPRK has been mum about the proposals.
Tensions ran high on the Korean Peninsula following the DPRK's nuclear and missile provocations. The Asian country detonated what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb in September, after test-firing ballistic missiles with intercontinental capability. The sixth nuclear test was seen as the most powerful one ever conducted by the DPRK.
The war of rhetoric was resumed between Pyongyang and Washington. In response to US President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" the DPRK, top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un threatened the highest level of countermeasure in history.
ROK's Defense Minister Song Young-moo told the parliamentary defense committee that the United States would not wage a war on the peninsula under situations that the ROK is excluded.
President Moon has repeatedly said another war must never break out on the peninsula again. The peninsula is still in a technical state of war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in armistice, not peace treaty.
Regarding the Sept 23 flight of US strategic bombers in international airspace off the DPRK's east coast, Song said he had consulted on it with his US counterpart in advance via phone calls.
READ MORE: US bombers, jet fighters fly off DPRK coast
Two B-1B Lancers, long-range supersonic bombers of the US Air Force, flew again across the ROK territory earlier this week in an apparent show of force against the DPRK.
Meanwhile, about 40 ROK businessmen, who had run factories in the now-closed inter-Korean factory park in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, early Thursday asked the unification ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs to approve their visit to the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
The industrial zone has been closed for over one and a half years as the ROK government under impeached President Park Geun-hye unilaterally shut it down following Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test in January.
The businessmen applied for their visit to the DPRK's border town to check whether their factories and facilities in Kaesong were illegitimately being operated by the DPRK.
According to local media reports, some of the DPRK's media outlets indicated a resumed factory operation.
Though the ROK ministry gave a greenlight to their visit, the businessmen would not be allowed to cross the inter-Korean border into Kaesong without consent from the DPRK.