S. Korea eyes aid-nukes swap

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Calling denuclearization “essential” for lasting peace on the peninsula, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Monday said he will offer a wide-ranging aid package to the North in return for denuclearization.

Yoon detailed a large-scale aid plan that would include food and energy as well as help in modernizing infrastructure such as ports, airports and hospitals.

“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 program and embarks on a genuine and substantive process for denuclearization,” Yoon said in a speech marking the anniversary of liberation from Japan’s colonial rule in 1945.

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 gross domestic product into weapons programs, has long made it clear it will not make that trade.

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