Following the latest ballistic missile launch from North Korea, South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in warned that further provocations could result in the complete destruction “beyond recovery” of the northern neighbor. He also repeated tjat the possibility of opening a dialogue with the belligerent North is now gone.
“In case North Korea undertakes provocations against us or our ally, we have the power to destroy (the North) beyond recovery,” the South Korean leader said on Friday according to Yonhap.
Seoul immediately convened a National Security Council meeting following the latest launch by North Korea, in which Moon condemned the missile test, saying the North had once again breached United Nations Security Council resolutions and “poses a grave challenge to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the global community,” according to RT’s Ruptly news agency.
“I sternly condemn and express anger at this series of provocations by the North,” Moon was quoted as saying.
The South Korean president also said that dialogue between the South and the North is currently impossible and called for greater pressure on the North. “Dialogue is impossible in a situation like this,” Moon said.
“International sanctions and pressure will further tighten to force North Korea to choose no other option but to step forward on the path to genuine dialogue.”
South Korea also should be prepared to new types of threats from the North, including biological ones and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, Yonhap reports citing presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun. Even as Seoul still wants to wants use diplomatic means to solve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula and put an end to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, it has been pushing for cooperation with the US in the defense sphere. President Moon called for an early revision of the agreement with US President Donald Trump, allowing the deployment of heavier warheads on South Korean missiles.
Moon had been alerted in advance of the latest launch and ordered to conduct military drills after the North had fired the missile. South Korea fired two Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missiles just six minutes after the North Korean missile launch, while the North’s projectile was still flying, according to Yonhap.
One of the missiles failed “in the initial stage” and the other flew some 250km and “accurately hit” a simulated target in the East Sea (as the Koreas prefer to name the Sea of Japan), the South Korean military said, as cited by the agency.
Separately, speaking to Japan’s Prime Minister Dhinzo Abe, President Moon suggested the two countries refrain from overreacting to North Korean provocations to avoid any accidental conflict, Moon’s office said in a text message according to Bloomberg.
Moon says he “completely agrees” with Abe to firmly respond to North Korean threats but two countries should cooperate to manage situation in a stable way to avoid “a possible accidental conflict.”
Abe raised issue with timing of South Korean govt’s plan to provide humanitarian aid to the North through international bodies to which Moon responded that the plan follows international organizations’ request to help pregnant women and children in North Korea and decision should be free from political considerations. Moon said, however, that South Korea will consider timing of aid given North Korea’s continued provocations and will ensure goods provided will be used to meet intended purposes
An official response from the international community is expected later today: the U.N. Security Council will meet later in the day to discuss the launch at the request of the United States and Japan, diplomats said according to Reuters. U.S. officials repeated Washington’s “ironclad” commitments to the defense of its allies. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for “new measures” against North Korea and said the “continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation”.