Home GRASP GRASP/Korea North Korean ICBM launches dim South's hopes for talks

North Korean ICBM launches dim South's hopes for talks

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday ordered his troops to conduct a live-fire exercise with U. S. forces and endorsed stronger pressure and sanctions against North Korea.
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s rapidly accelerating nuclear weapons program is beginning to pose a grave challenge for liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose dovish proposals for engagement have been met by silence and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in less than a month.
Throughout the election campaign and his presidency that began in May, Moon has persistently expressed a desire to reach out to North Korea. But in the wake of the North’s latest ICBM test, a stern-looking Moon on Saturday sounded more like his conservative predecessor as he ordered his troops to conduct a live-fire exercise with U. S. forces and endorsed stronger pressure and sanctions against Pyongyang. He then told government officials to schedule talks with Washington over increasing the warhead limits of South Korean missiles.
Moon also made a dramatic policy reversal, ordering his military to talk with U. S. commanders in South Korea to temporarily place additional launchers of a contentious U. S. missile defense system, which was seen as a sign that Moon was ready to get tougher on the North. He likely has no other choice as it is well past the point where Seoul could afford being seen as “begging” Pyongyang for talks, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University and a policy adviser to Moon.
“Ministries related to foreign policy and security must work with our allies including the United States to ensure that today’s provocation is met by a stern international response, such as U. N. Security Council measures, ” Yoon Young-chan, Moon’s senior press secretary, quoted him as saying during a National Security Council meeting. Yoon said Moon also directed government officials to consider the possibility of unilateral sanctions against the North.
Through statements released by his office and later by the Foreign Ministry, Moon’s government made it clear it isn’t giving up on the hopes for talks just yet. But Moon also said the North’s latest launch has the potential to “fundamentally change” regional security dynamics and stressed the need for “strong and realistic measures” that could sting Pyongyang and repel its nuclear ambitions.

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