Nominees to major diplomatic and security posts appointed by President Moon Jae-in made remarks such as the new government would allow exchanges with North Korea at civilian levels and resume the tour program to Mt. Kumgang and the economic partnership at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Some in the conservative camp warned that the Korean government is rushing to reopen the relations with the North while the international community is stepping up its pressure on the reclusive regime for its nuclear and missile development programs.
An official with the Ministry of Unification said in relations to controversies over possible resumption of tours in Mt. Kumgang and exchanges in the Kaesong Industrial Park said, "These are all misunderstanding. The government will review plans to do so only in the long run. One must note that all these are contingent upon the North's commitment to give up its nuclear ambitions."
Moon Jung-in, Presidential Special Advisor for Unification, Diplomatic and Security Affairs, said on May 23 in an interview, "The issues of Mt. Kumgang, Kaesong industrial complex, and others will soon be discussed with the President." A Cheongwadae official elaborated on his remarks that it was not something he discussed with other officials but an expression of his personal opinion that such issues must be resolved in the long run."
Lee Nak-yeon, Prime Minister-nominee, said in a written statement sent to lawmakers within the confirmation hearing committee of the National Assembly, "We can start dialog with the North if it changes its attitude or right conditions are created." He added, "If the North comes to the negotiating table after committing itself to a nuclear freeze, we may be able to resume Mt. Kumgang tour and Kaesong industrial park operation. In the case of the tour program in Mt. Kumgang, the North must give an assurance that it will guarantee safety of the tourists from the South."