According to Yoon Suk Yeol, South Korea's conservative president, any new talks between Seoul or Pyongyang have to be initiated by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In his first interview with CNN since his two-week tenure, Yoon stated: "I think Chairman Kim is the one who has the ball -- it is his decision to begin a dialogue."
North Korea has conducted 15 missile tests this year, more than any other country in the last two years. Kim also promised to "strengthen" and "develop" its nuclear force at the fastest speed.
Yoon stated that his new presidential office is located at Seoul's former defense building. He told CNN South Korea, and its allies, are ready to respond to any act of North Korean provocations.
He said that "just to escape temporarily North Korean provocations or conflict is not something we should do." He was referring to the conciliatory strategy of the previous liberal administration. "This approach has failed over the last five years."
Yoon, who was a former prosecutor but is now a newcomer to politics has repeatedly stressed his stricter stance against North Korea and desire for South Korea's military to be strengthened -- a departure form Moon Jae-in who advocated dialogue and peaceful reconciliation.
Yoon stated Monday that he doesn't want North Korea "collapse" despite his position.
He stated, "What I want is shared prosperity on the Korean Peninsula" but also said, "I don't believe that increasing [North Koreas] nuclear capabilities is helpful or conducive to maintaining international peaceful."
The recent North Korean surge in missile testing, and the resumption of activity at its underground nuclear site, put regional leaders on edge. Yoon met in Seoul with US President Joe Biden.
Biden's first Asia trip since his election, US officials warned that the North might be planning an underground nuclear or intercontinental missile test.
This has not happened so far.
Yoon stated that the men came to an agreement, and he showed CNN a gift from Biden. It was a sign reading, "The Buck stops here." This quote is often associated to former US President Harry S. Truman. Yoon placed the statement in the middle of his desk and said "I don’t know how (Biden), knew that I liked this statement."
Yoon stressed the importance of South Korea's security alliance with the US throughout his campaign. This push was evident after Yoon met with Biden when the US President called their relationship "new heights."
In a joint statement, the leaders of the two countries announced that they would start discussions to restart and possibly expand joint military drills that were halted under Biden's predecessor. This move is likely to anger North Korea.
Yoon claimed that the move was defensive and justified it on Monday. He stated that regular military training is "the fundamental duty of all military around the globe to maintain their readiness."
He said that the US would offer assistance in case of an attack. This includes missile defense and its nuclear umbrella, which promises protection from a nuclear-armed country to a nonnuclear ally.