SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea on Tuesday welcomed the New Year's speech by Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Seoul's unification ministry said in a statement that the government hailed Kim's speech in which the DPRK leader showed his stance that his country will continue efforts for the Korean Peninsula's complete denuclearization, the establishment of permanent peace, and the expanded development in relations with South Korea.
The statement said South Korea has maintained its position that it will sincerely implement inter-Korean agreements to develop inter-Korean ties in an epoch-making way, while making efforts to completely denuclearize the peninsula and build lasting peace.
It noted that the DRPK government will make best efforts to advance inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation to make the inter-Korean relations developed in an irreversible way, while closely cooperating with the international community for the peninsula's complete denuclearization and the settlement of permanent peace.
Kim said in his televised New Year's speech that it would be an unwavering position of the Workers' Party of Korea and the government, and his firm will, to build lasting peace on the peninsula and move towards the complete denuclearization.
The DPRK leader noted that if the United States breaks its promise and misjudges the patience of the DPRK people while unilaterally forcing certain things and keeping on sanctions and pressure, his country could be forced to take a new path to defend national interests and sovereignty, and achieve peace and stability on the peninsula.
Kim held summit meetings three times in 2018 with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He also became the first DPRK leader to hold a summit with a sitting U.S. president in June 2018.
Pyongyang and Washington have been arranging a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, after the first-ever DPRK-U.S. summit in Singapore on June 12.
During the past inter-Korean and DPRK-U.S. summits, Kim agreed to make the peninsula nuclear-free and normalize relations between Pyongyang and Washington.
However, denuclearization negotiations between the DPRK and the United States were stalemated in recent months over differences in the sequencing of the denuclearization and the sanctions relief.
Kim said he was ready to sit face-to-face with Trump at any time to produce outcome, welcomed by the international community.
He said that if the United States takes corresponding measures to the DPRK's leading and pre-emptive efforts, ties between Pyongyang and Washington would advance at a fast pace through the process of taking firmer and epoch-making actions.
The DPRK leader noted that his country would neither produce and test nuclear weapons, nor use and spread them, saying Pyongyang had taken practical actions in this regard. It was the reference to the DPRK's dismantlement of its nuclear testing ground and its missile engine testing site.
Regarding Kim's New Year address, Kim Eui-keum, spokesman of the South Korean presidential Blue House, said it represented Kim's willingness to develop inter-Korean relations and advance the DPRK-U.S. relations.
The Blue House spokesman said Kim's unwavering will was anticipated to have positive influence on resolving the peninsula issues smoothly in the new year.
Stressing the importance for inter-Korean cooperation and exchanges, the DPRK leader said in the New Year speech that he had willingness to reopen the inter-Korean factory park in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong and resume the tours by South Koreans to the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang on the east coast.
The Kaesong Industrial Complex was closed down by South Korea in February 2016 over the DPRK's fourth nuclear test in the previous month. Before the shutdown, 123 South Korean companies ran factories in the industrial zone, hiring about 54,000 DPRK workers.
The tourism project to Mount Kumgang, launched in 1998, has been suspended since a South Korean tourist was shot dead in July 2008 by a DPRK soldier after allegedly venturing into an off-limits area.