Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Al Jazeera & Edith M. Lederer /Associated Press – 2017-08-18 01:17:07
South Korea’s President Moon
Rules Out War on Korean Peninsula
Offers to Send Special Envoy to North Korea If Tests Stop
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(August 17, 2017) — Having campaigned centrally on a return to diplomacy with North Korea, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has found himself awkwardly paddling against the current since he took office, watching as the US and North Korea continued to raise the stakes against one another.
Marking is 100th day in office, however, Moon appears to be increasingly assertive about his position, flat out ruling out any war on the Korean Peninsula in comments today, and reiterating that dialogue must resume at some point.
Moon even made a specific offer, saying that he was willing to send a special envoy to Pyongyang for talks if North Korea promised to stop testing missiles and nuclear weapons. There has been no direct response from North Korea, though officials from the country have suggested they are open to diplomacy if the US stops threatening them.
Moon warned South Korea didn’t believe they have to rush toward diplomacy, however, and that North Korea could face more sanctions if they continued with tests. These comments come just two days after Moon said he can and would “veto” any US war against North Korea.
Moon Jae-in: There Will
Not Be War on Korean Peninsula
Marking 100 days in office, the South Korean president
says he will consider talks if the North stops its missile tests
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has ruled out a “war again on the Korean Peninsula” and is considering sending a special envoy to North Korea for talks if Pyongyang stops its missile and nuclear tests.
Moon’s comments on Thursday, marking his 100 days in office, come amid increased tensions between the United States and North Korea following Pyongyang’s warning that it might send missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam. That was followed by US President Donald Trump’s threats to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea.
“The people worked together to rebuild the country from the Korean War and we cannot lose everything again because of a war,” Moon said in a nationally televised news conference. “I can confidently say there will not be war again on the Korean Peninsula.”
In recent days, both Koreas and the US have signalled a willingness to avert a deepening crisis, with each suggesting a path towards negotiations.
Earlier this month, the UN adopted tough new sanctions against North Korea after it launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile test (ICBM) in July.
Moon said a “red line” would be Pyongyang “completing its ICBM and mounting it with a nuclear warhead and weaponising it”.
“If North Korea launches another provocation, it will face even stronger sanctions and it will not be able to survive them. I would like to warn North Korea to end its dangerous gamble.”
‘Dialogue Must Resume’
The South Korean leader was elected in May after a decade of conservative rule that saw animosity deepen between the rival Koreas.
Moon has repeatedly said he wants to engage with the North, but his efforts have so far met a string of threats and missile tests as North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un works to build nuclear-armed missiles that can reach the US mainland.
“A dialogue between South and North Korea must resume. But we don’t need to be impatient,” Moon said.
“I think lots of effort and time could be necessary to overcome a decade of severed ties and to reopen a dialogue.”
Moon added Washington and Seoul are closely communicating over the North Korean nuclear programme and share the view that strong sanctions are needed against Pyongyang to stop its provocations and force it into negotiations.
Moon said he thinks Trump’s belligerent words are intended to show a strong resolve for pressuring North Korea and don’t necessarily display the willingness for military attacks.
“The United States and President Trump have already promised to sufficiently consult with South Korea and get our approval for whatever option they will take against North Korea. It’s a firm agreement between South Korea and the United States,” Moon said.
On Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was time to “dial down rhetoric and dail up diplomacy” on North Korea, offering to help broker talks with the parties involved in the dispute.
“The solution to this crisis must be political. The potential consequences of military action are too horrific to even contemplate,” Guterres said.
The US and South Korea are set to begin their annual military drills next week, which enrage North Korea each year.
South Korean President Says
He Can Veto War Against North Korea
Vows to Prevent War at Any Cost
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(August 15, 2017) â€“ In an unusually pointed statement on the ongoing fear of a US attack on North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in today gave a speech insisting that he has absolute right to veto any US military action against North Korea, and intends to do so.
Moon declared the decision needed to be made “by ourselves and not by anyone else,” adding that he intends to prevent a war with North Korea “at any cost.” That’s a huge departure from previous reports suggesting South Korea was essentially along for the ride, and was backing whatever Trump would decide, hoping it would eventually end in peace.
Analysts see this as reflective of growing frustration by President Moon, who campaigned on a return to diplomacy with North Korea, but has seen his brief time in office dominated by repeated US threats to destroy North Korea.
Moon’s comments, to those analysts, are an attempt to reassert the traditional balance on the Korean Peninsula, where the US presence is about supporting their South Korean allies, as opposed to South Korea simply being stuck on the North Korean border while the US steams toward a nuclear war.
It’s unclear, however, how well that will be received in the US, as the Trump Administration was already believed not to be thrilled with Moon’s pro-diplomacy bias, and in the past couple of months has re-branded North Korea as a threat to the US mainland, as opposed to a threat to South Korea and Japan.
The timing may be in Moon’s favor, however, as Trump Administration officials appear eager to talk back the notion that a nuclear war is imminent, though both they and North Korea are making it clear they each regard the other side as wholly to blame for the soaring tensions.
North Korea Warns It
Won’t Negotiate Nukes If US Is Hostile
Edith M. Lederer /Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS (August 17, 2017) — North Korea warned the United States that it will never put its nuclear weapons program on the negotiating table as long as the Trump administration keeps up its “hostile policy and nuclear threat.”
The warning came from North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador Kim In Ryong in the transcript of his conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday. The transcript was sent to The Associated Press on Thursday by North Korea’s UN Mission.
Guterres’ remarks were not included but the UN chief told reporters Wednesday that he had spoken to the North Koreans and the five other parties in talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear program that have been stalled since 2009.
The secretary-general warned that tensions on the Korean peninsula are at their highest level in decades and said it’s important now “to dial down the rhetoric and to dial up diplomacy.”
Ambassador Kim repeated to the secretary-general the decision by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to hold off on launching missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam.
The North Korean leader “said that the US imperialists put their own necks into the noose through their reckless military confrontation racket, adding that he would watch a little longer the conduct of the foolish and stupid Yankees,” the ambassador told Guterres.
Ambassador Kim reiterated his leader’s demand that the US immediately stop its “arrogant provocation” and its “extremely dangerous actions around the Korean Peninsula,” including deploying “huge nuclear strategic equipment.”
“In order to defuse the tensions and prevent the dangerous military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, it is necessary for the US to make a proper option first and show it in action,” the ambassador said.
President Donald Trump last week declared the US military “locked and loaded” and said he was ready to unleash “fire and fury” if North Korea continued to threaten the United States.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, said Wednesday the US wants to peacefully resolve tensions with North Korea, but is also ready to use the “full range” of its military capabilities.
If the US persists and tests the North’s “self-restraint,” the ambassador said his country will “make a crucial decision as it had already declared.”
Ambassador Kim accused the United States of instigating the latest UN sanctions against North Korea to “isolate and stifle” the country and completely block its economic development and improve “the people’s livelihood.”
He told Guterres the Security Council resolution, adopted unanimously on Aug. 5, is “more heinous than ever, placing a total ban even on normal trade and economic exchanges” with his country, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The resolution imposes the toughest sanctions yet on North Korea including banning all exports of coal, iron, lead, and fish and seafood products valued at $1 billion — about a third of the country’s total exports.
“As long as the US hostile policy and nuclear threat continue, the DPRK, no matter who may say what, will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiation table or flinch an inch from the road chosen by itself, the road of bolstering up the state nuclear force,” ambassador Kim said.
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