N.Korea dismiss Moon call for united Pyeongchang team

Frederick Owens
June 27, 2017

North Korea has vowed to continue developing its defensive capabilities amid the reclusive country's concerns the USA and South Korea will start a war. This hard line and little interest in engagement could open up a serious gap between the policy of the new administrations in Washington and Seoul. "A lot will hinge on how the two leaders get along and the chemistry between them".

The 64-year-old, elected as the country's President last month after a cronyism scandal led to Park Geun-hye being impeached, has pledged greater dialogue with the neighbouring country in a bid to reduce tensions between the two nations.

The military activities of South Korea's communist neighbor, including its nuclear arms development programs, apparently motivated the alleged plot, Asahi Shimbun notes. "It's very much at the top of his mind", he said. "At least I know China tried!"

The idea is similar to China's standing proposal of "dual suspension" of US-South Korea war games and the North's nuclear and missile tests, which Washington has already rejected. The sun gently warms the traveler and succeeds, the moral of the fable being that gentle persuasion works better than force. Four more launchers were transported to a US military base near Seongju, but it was not reported to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

But the rapprochement did not cause North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

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In a ceremony held in Seoul, Lee joined a slew of other sporting stars as the latest goodwill spokesperson for South Korea's first Winter Games.

The South and nuclear-armed North Korea are separated by one of the world's most heavily armed borders and remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty. The different kinds of missiles tested, which the Kim Jong-un regime hopes to soon mate with nuclear warheads, were capable of ranges from about 600 miles to over 3,000 miles. It has been imposing new sanctions on North Korean leaders and warning that military action is one option for reining in the regime.

For Moon, analysts say pursuing such an approach has been made more complicated by last week's death of American student Otto Warmbier, who had been jailed by the North. They questioned Moon's flip-flopping on the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea and his pledge to "review" the decision.

Though parts of system are already in place, Moon this month suspended further deployment. In regard to the THAAD deployment, for instance, it is crucial to help Trump understand the importance of procedural issues, such as carrying out an environmental impact assessment. "I was paid by South Korean and American intelligence agents for some information about that", a defector from Pyongyang said.

The Trump administration has not yet nominated, let alone appointed, an ambassador to South Korea, although Victor Cha, who served on the National Security Council during the Bush administration, is thought to be the front-runner for the post.

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