S. Korea gov’t mak­ing all ef­forts to avoid mil­i­tary clash with North

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

SOUTH Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae In said Thurs­day his gov­ern­ment is mak­ing all ef­forts to pre­vent the tense sit­u­a­tion on the Korean Penin­sula from es­ca­lat­ing into an armed clash.

“All ef­forts are be­ing made to man­age the sit­u­a­tion in a sta­ble way to pre­vent the ris­ing ten­sions from turn­ing into a mil­i­tary clash (with North Korea),” Moon said in a speech de­liv­ered at a cer­e­mony mark­ing the 69th South Korean Armed Forces Day, which falls on Sun­day.

“We will over­come the cri­sis and main­tain peace” de­spite the North’s nu­clear and mis­sile threats, Moon said.

“Our gov­ern­ment’s re­solve to pro­tect peace should be based on strong na­tional de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” he said, adding that North Korea’s “reck­less provo­ca­tion” would be met with strong re­tal­i­a­tion.

The South Korean leader also called for the trans­fer of wartime op­er­a­tional con­trol of its own armed forces from the United States at an early date.

“Re­gain­ing wartime op­er­a­tional con­trol, based on in­de­pen­dent de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties, would im­prove our mil­i­tary’s con­sti­tu­tion and ca­pa­bil­i­ties to a con­sid­er­able de­gree,” he said.

“North Korea will fear us more and the peo­ple will have more trust in our mil­i­tary when we have wartime op­er­a­tional con­trol,” he said.

Un­der cur­rent ar­range­ments, a US mil­i­tary com­man­der would lead both U.S. and South Korean forces in the event of an armed con­flict against the North on the Korean Penin­sula.

South Korea’s pre­vi­ous at­tempts to re­gain op­er­a­tional con­trol over its forces have been put off over fears of in­creas­ing nu­clear and mis­sile threats from Py­ongyang.

At Thurs­day’s cer­e­mony, some of South Korea’s “strate­gic” weapons such as Hyun­moo-2 bal­lis­tic mis­siles and Hyun­moo-3 cruise mis­siles were dis­played in a show of force.

Ten­sions have es­ca­lated on the penin­sula after North Korea con­ducted its sixth nu­clear test, the most pow­er­ful to date, and test-fired a bal­lis­tic mis­sile over Ja­pan ear­lier this month. – Ky­odo

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