Opposition leader calls for restoring inter-Korean hotline

SEOUL, Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung called Wednesday for the government to restore the hotline with North Korea to reduce tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula as a series of weapons tests and bellicose rhetoric raised concerns about war. Lee, the chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), made the remark in a New Year's press conference, where he also vowed to seize victory in the April general elections. "We strongly condemn North Korea, which is continuing its armed provocations in the East Sea and the West Sea," Lee said. "Chairman Kim Jong-un is throwing away the hopes of unification like an old shoe, and driving its people into misery even worse than the Cold War era." Lee said that the 1950 Korean War was an accumulated result of small conflicts along the inter-Korean border, as he urged the government to restore the communication channel between Seoul and Pyongyang to prevent history from repeating itself. "The Yoon Suk Yeol government must immediately restore the war-preventing hotline of peac e," he said. During the conference, Lee also suggested ideas to tackle South Korea's dwindling birthrate and improve the country's economy. As a birthrate-boosting measure, the DP leader suggested providing government subsidies to all children regardless of their parent's income, which could potentially be expanded to cover their education expenses and university tuition. He also suggested forming a national organization to foster dialogue on resolving the issue. As for the economy, Lee said his party will come up with more policy support for the country to adapt to the changing economic landscape focused on renewable energy sources, and increase investments in science and next-generation technologies, such as artificial intelligence. "Over the last two years, the Yoon Suk Yeol government ignored people's wishes and went all in to kill its political opponents," he said. "We will seize victory in the general elections and overcome the crisis in state affairs caused by the Yoon Suk Yeol government." Sour ce: Yonhap News Agency