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Trump willing to use engagement on North Korea crisis: South Korea envoy

20 May 2017, 02:10 | Taylor George

Richard Drew — The Associated Press file

Richard Drew — The Associated Press file

It conducted its latest ballistic missile launch, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, on Sunday which it said was a test of its capability to carry a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead", drawing Security Council condemnation.

"The ministry has been reviewing ways to restore it", Lee Duk-haeng, ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing, Yonhap reported.

The two Koreas - technically still at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended only with a ceasefire instead of a peace treaty - have occasionally clashed along the border. It has also regularly threatened South Korea and Japan of strikes for colluding with the United States.

Moon made his comments hours after South Korea, which hosts 28,500 US troops, said it wanted to reopen a channel of dialogue with North Korea as Moon seeks a two-track policy, involving sanctions and talks, to try to rein in its neighbour.

In Washington, a U.S. defence official said the missile fired on Sunday appeared to be a liquid-fuelled KN-17, marking what seemed to be the most successful launch of such a device.

"But this year we've had some undeserved setbacks", Wang said, likely in a veiled reference to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system that became operational earlier this month.

USA envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, told reporters just prior to a UN Security Council meeting at which the UN is considering new sanctions against North Korea: "We are willing to talk but not until we see a total stop of the nuclear process and of any test there".

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has made it clear that Washington would talk to North Korea only after it halts its nuclear programme.

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"The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with [Japan and South Korea] in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea".

She indicated Washington and Beijing had agreed they would take action if a new test looked to be long range and leaning toward an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States.

Gelica Sablan, a 25-year-old Guam resident and college student, echoed those concerns: "Other people from neighboring Asian counties or any country in general might not want to come here because they might think it's a threat that their safety might be compromised".

Defense Minister Han Min-koo likewise told the National Assembly's defense committee that the ministry determines that "North Korea has not been able to acquire re-entry technology" following North Korea's announcement that it had succeeded in an atmospheric re-entry simulation test in March.

However, North Korea does not seem willing to stop its missile launches, including nuclear ones. Is it possible or not?

Moon made the comments after stating that he wanted to reopen the channels of communication with the North.

"That sort of back-and-forth was easier to pull off in the Cold War, but they seem to be trying to capitalize on their relations with Russian Federation now that China has become more distant", the expert underlined.

"But they're not looking to actually land on those shores just yet because that would lead to a definite physical rebuttal from the U.S.", Patalon said on Monday in reaction to the Sunday launch. "If you are a country that is supplying or supporting North Korea we will call you out on it, we will make sure that everyone knows who you are and we will target sanctions toward you as well".



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