In an exclusive interview with CNN aired on May 28, President Yoon Suk-yeol explained how his administration will help North Korea respond to COVID-19, Seoul's overall policy toward the North, the bilateral alliance with the U.S. and appointing women to higher government posts.
President Yoon has told CNN, "We are fully prepared for providing all COVID-19 support for North Korea."
In the interview with the American news network, he said, "If North Korea can accept medical supplies in any manner for quick distribution to its people, we are fully prepared."
The 21-minute segment aired in the evening on the CNN show "Talk Asia" and was filmed on May 23 at the presidential office in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District.
President Yoon explained the direction of his administration's policy toward the North, the bilateral alliance with the U.S. and other issues.
On inter-Korean relations, he said, "Any new talks between Seoul and Pyeongyang must be initiated by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un," adding, "The age of appeasing North Korea is over."
On if the North will agree to denuclearization talks, the president said, "I think the ball is in Chairman Kim's court -- it is his choice to start a dialogue with us."
If the North conducts its seventh underground nuclear test, he added, "We will respond strongly and firmly to North Korea's provocations," adding, "South Korea and its allies stand ready for any acts of North Korean provocation."
On Seoul's involvement in the Washington-led Indo-Pacific framework, President Yoon said, "I think it is only natural that we participate in this."
"It is in the process of forming the rules for economy and trade in the Indo-Pacific region," he added. "If we don't actively participate in the process of making these rules for economic exchanges and trade, with the countries within the Indo-Pacific region, it will be a great loss to our national interest."
Turning to China’s response to the issue, President Yoon said, "As one of the two largest economies in the world and a world leader, China should also abide by the rule-based international order based on universal values, not only participating in it but also leading the order."