Moon, Abe agree to ‘ex­treme’ pres­sure on North Korea

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Kim Rahn rah­nita@ktimes.com

Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in and Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe have agreed that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity needs to in­crease pres­sure on North Korea to an “ex­treme” level, fol­low­ing Tues­day’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile test by Py­ongyang, Cheong Wa Dae said Wed­nes­day.

Dur­ing a 25-minute phone con­ver­sa­tion, the two lead­ers also agreed to seek stronger sanc­tions against Py­ongyang at the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil (UNSC).

It was their fifth phone call since Moon’s May 10 in­au­gu­ra­tion, and came only five days af­ter the pre­vi­ous one. Wed­nes­day’s phone call was made at Abe’s re­quest.

“Moon and Abe agreed that the pres­sure on North Korea should in­crease to an ex­treme level so that the North will come for­ward f or di­a­logue,” pres­i­den­tial spokesman Park Soo-hyun said.

Their con­ver­sa­tion in­di­cated the two coun­tries and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity will fo­cus on new and stronger pres­sure and sanc­tions against Py­ongyang for now, rather than seek­ing di­a­logue, as the latest test was grave enough to heighten ten­sion on the Korean Penin­sula and in North­east Asia.

North Korea con­firmed Wed­nes­day that it launched a Hwa­song-12 in­ter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile (IRBM) that flew over Ja­pan.

The range of the mis­sile, about 2,700 kilo­me­ters, also showed Py­ongyang could strike the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Guam, about 3,000 kilo­me­ters away, as it had ear­lier threat­ened.

The North’s Korea Cen­tral News Agency (KCNA) said that leader Kim Jong-un su­per­vised the launch and or­dered his mil­i­tary to pre­pare more launches of mis­siles tar­get­ing the Pa­cific Ocean.

“Moon said the IRBM launch over Ja­pan was vi­o­lence against a neigh­bor­ing coun­try,” Park said.

The KCNA said the launch of the mis­sile was to counter the Ulchi Free­dom Guardian joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cise be­tween the United States and South Korea.

Moon also told Abe that Seoul held a Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing im­me­di­ately af­ter the mis­sile launch and he or­dered a show of force with four F-15k fighter jets car­ry­ing out live bomb­ing drills.

The two lead­ers re­newed the im­por­tance of co­op­er­a­tion among South Korea, Ja­pan and the U.S. in ad­dress­ing the North Korea is­sue.

“They eval­u­ated that close co­op­er­a­tion among the three na­tions led to the UNSC’s swift call for a meet­ing and adop­tion of a state­ment on the first day of the meet­ing. They agreed to push for a new UNSC res­o­lu­tion im­pos­ing more de­tailed and ef­fec­tive sanc­tions against North Korea, and to make ef­forts to get co­op­er­a­tion from China and Rus­sia on the is­sue,” Park said.

Moon also ex­pressed sym­pa­thy and comfort for the fear and threat Ja­panese peo­ple may have felt fol­low­ing the mis­sile test, ac­cord­ing to Park.

“The two lead­ers pledged to con­tact each other im­me­di­ately over ur­gent is­sues in the future to dis­cuss joint coun­ter­mea­sures, and to have more talks about the North Korea is­sue when they at­tend the Eastern Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Vladi­vos­tok, Rus­sia, in early Septem­ber.”

The Na­tional Assem­bly will be­gin its first reg­u­lar ses­sion since the in­au­gu­ra­tion of Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in, Fri­day.

Heated de­bates are ex­pected over the gov­ern­ment’s bud­get bill cen­tered on boost­ing wel­fare ben­e­fits, North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile provo­ca­tions and other hot-but­ton is­sues dur­ing the 100-day ses­sion, which is sched­uled to end De­cem­ber 12.

The ses­sion may pro­vide a glimpse of the future po­lit­i­cal land­scape be­cause no sin­gle party has a ma­jor­ity in the 299-mem­ber Assem­bly.

The third-largest Peo­ple’s Party with 40 seats, led by newly elected Chair­man Ahn Cheol-soo, is likely to play a de­ci­sive role in dis­puted bills be­tween the 120-seat rul­ing Demo­cratic Party of Korea (DPK) and the 107-seat main op­po­si­tion Lib­erty Korea Party (LKP).

The reg­u­lar ses­sion will in­clude speeches by lead­ers of the four ne­go­ti­at­ing blocs from Sept. 4 to 7, an in­ter­pel­la­tion ses­sion from Sept. 11 to 14, and in­spec­tion of gov­ern­ment of­fices from Oct. 12 to 31.

The rul­ing party plans to shed light on ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and cor­rup­tive prac­tices of the pre­vi­ous Park Geun-hye gov­ern­ment and take the cases as mo­men­tum for re­form.

Yon­hap

A Hwa­song-12 in­ter­me­di­ate range mis­sile blasts off from a launch pad in Py­ongyang, North Korea, Tues­day, in this photo re­leased by the North’s of­fi­cial Korea Cen­tral News Agency, Wed­nes­day.

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