2 The proposal comes days after the North threatened to “wipe out” Seoul authorities over a recent Covid-19 outbreak and less than a month after leader Kim Jong Un said his country was “ready to mobilise” its nuclear capability in any war with the United States and the South.
3 But calling denuclearisation “essential” for lasting peace on the peninsula, Yoon on Monday detailed a large-scale aid plan that would include food and energy as well as help in modernising infrastructure such as ports, airports and hospitals.
4 “The audacious initiative that I envision will significantly improve North Korea’s economy and its people’s livelihoods in stages if the North ceases the development of its nuclear programme and embarks on a genuine and substantive process for denuclearisation,” Yoon said in a speech marking the anniversary of liberation from Japan’s colonial rule in 1945.
5 Analysts say the chances of Pyongyang accepting such an offer — first floated during Yoon’s inaugural speech — are vanishingly slim, as the North, which invests a vast chunk of its GDP into weapons programmes, has long made it clear it will not make that trade.
6 North Korea has conducted a record-breaking blitz of weapons tests this year, including firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.