South Korea's new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, said on Tuesday that North Korea's weapons programmes pose a threat but that he is ready to provide an "audacious" economic plan if the North is committed to denuclearisation, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Yoon gave the remarks in his inauguration speech after being sworn in at a ceremony in Seoul. He won a tight election in March as the standard bearer of the main conservative People Power Party, less than a year after entering politics following a 26-year career as a prosecutor.
He has signalled a tougher line on North Korea, warning of a preemptive strike if there is a sign of an imminent attack and vowing to strengthen the South's deterrent capability. But his speech was seen as focused more on his willingness to reopen stalled denuclearisation talks with Pyongyang.
"While North Korea's nuclear weapon programs are a threat not only to our security and that of Northeast Asia, the door to dialogue will remain open so that we can peacefully resolve this threat," Yoon said.
"If North Korea genuinely embarks on a process to complete denuclearisation, we are prepared to work with the international community to present an audacious plan that will vastly strengthen North Korea's economy and improve the quality of life for its people," he added.