SEOUL, Former South Korean Minister of Unification Jeong Se-hyun said Thursday that President Moon Jae-in should begin a contingency plan and persuade North Korea to take the first steps towards denuclearization.

"The Moon government should launch a contingency plan to ensure that the United States would not patch up the North Korean nuclear problem by eliminating the North's intercontinental ballistic missiles and freezing its nuclear weapons program," Jeong said in a parliamentary meeting organized by the ruling Democratic Party.

Jeong, who served as the unification minister under the liberal governments of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun in the early 2000s, said that Washington appears to want Seoul to follow its "denuclearization first and compensation later" policy by opposing an advance in inter-Korean relations and defining the Moon government's request for sanctions relief as destructive to the alliance.

He then analyzed that the U.S. appears to be reverting to the so-called Libya model in its policy for the North.

The Libya model refers to a method used in 2003 to force then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to give up his country's nuclear weapons program in a relatively short period of time. The model was hailed by the U.S. as a success, but Gaddafi was killed by angry Libyans in 2011.

"U.S. President Trump seems to be leaning towards working-level officials who regard North Korea's nuclear development as bad behavior and oppose any compensation. Our government should take countermeasures for that," the former minister said.

He proposed that the Moon government build a structure for denuclearization by trying to appease the Pyongyang regime's fear of the Libya model.

"The conclusion of a peace treaty and establishment of a peace regime through cooperation with China, Japan and Russia can help ease the North's fear of the Libya model," he said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency