South Korea seeks talks with North despite missile test

Brunilde Fioravanti
Mag 20, 2017

"We don't have it done yet", Haley said.

North Korea conducted its latest ballistic missile test on Sunday in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, saying it was a test of its capability to carry a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead".

In recent weeks Beijing and Seoul have signalled a desire to fix relations following the election of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has taken a friendlier stance toward China than his conservative predecessor.

The test was in open defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and the global community has widely condemned the launch. "But there are no specific steps in the offing", Lee Duk-haeng, a spokesman for South Horea's unification ministry, told reporters.

The two experts said if North Korea launches a strike against South Korea using its conventional artillery north of the Demilitarized Zone, the first wave of shells could land with essentially no warning.

The North has raised fears about its progress after conducting five nuclear tests, including two a year ago, and test-firing some 30 missiles over the past 15 months.

Moon, who was sworn in last week, warned that the North's nuclear and rocket programmes were "advancing rapidly", days after Pyongyang launched what appeared to be its longest-range missile yet.

Although the devastating war between the democratic, wealthy south and the communist, impoverished north ended in 1953 without a peace treaty, there are channels of communication between them. The hotline has been regularly cut off and reconnected as inter-Korean relations peak and trough.

Separately, Mr Moon's envoy to the USA is travelling to Washington for talks about North Korea with U.S. president Donald Trump.

The envoy made clear that most of the South Korean public can not accept the deal.

China for its part has been infuriated by the USA deployment of an advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea, saying it was a threat to its security and would do nothing to ease tension with Pyongyang.

North Korean officials accused the U.S. of pressuring other countries into severing or degrading diplomatic ties with it by misusing "sanction resolutions" against it. Beijing strongly opposes the deployment of THAAD, claiming the battery harms its security interests.

Left-leaning Moon favours engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, but after Sunday's missile launch said dialogue would be possible "only if Pyongyang changes its behaviour".

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