South Korean President Moon Jae-in's first New Year's news conference before some two hundred Korean and foreign press televised live across the nation.
In a speech that allows the president to outline his government's agenda and national priorities for the rest of the year, the South Korean leader spent most of his time focusing on the nation's economic and social issues.
Predictably, however, when the floor was turned over for questions, it was North Korea that took center stage as the president's presser came on the heels of a rare high-level face-to-face between the two Koreas.
"I'm open to any form of meeting, including a summit with North Korea's leader, if it helps improve South, North Korea relations and resolve the nuclear issue.
The purpose of the summit, however, shouldn't be talks for the sake of talks.
It can happen only if the conditions are right and certain achievements are guaranteed."
While describing Pyongyang's Olympic participation as "very desirable," and that he will push for even more talks and cooperation with the North Mr. Moon also made clear that his ultimate goal remains unblurred.
"I stress once again.
The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is a process toward peace and a goal at the same time.
The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which was declared by the two Koreas in the past, is our fundamental position that can never be compromised."
Mr. Moon had advocated for greater engagement with Pyongyang to reduce tensions, but as leader he has had to walk a delicate line between the United States and North Korea.
"But on this Wednesday quelling concerns that the latest overtures by North Korea could drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, South Korea's commander-in-chief made clear that his government did not differ with the U.S. over how to respond to the threats posed by Pyongyang.
His warning: Pyongyang would face stronger sanctions if provocations continued or if it failed to show sincerity in resolving the nuclear issue.
Moon Connyoung, Arirang News, the Blue House."