‘Not Time for Dialogue’ with North Korea, South Korean, Japanese Leaders Agree

South Koreans watch a television displaying news broadcasts reporting on North Korea's recent medium-range ballistic missile launch at a station in Seoul, South Korea, 22 May 2017. Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyon/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

  • South Korean President Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Abe have called for further sanctions against North Korea.
  • They have agreed that ‘now is not the time for dialogue’ with Kim Jong-un.
  • Call for sanctions marks a shift in the position of new South Korean leader Moon who has advocated engagement with North Korea.
  • North Korean regime has accused the United States of flying B-1B strategic bombers close to its territory and triggering a nuclear war crisis.
  • It has threatened the ‘US imperialist warmongers’ it will turn the US mainland into a ‘scorched earth’ in the event of a nuclear war.

The leaders of South Korea and Japan, Moon Jae-in and Shinzo Abe, have called for further sanctions against North Korea amid the ongoing missile tests and other provocations by the regime of Kim Jong-un.

The call for further sanctions is a shift in the position of the recently elected South Korean President, liberal Moon Jae-in, who advocated engagement with North Korea rather than a harsher stance while on the campaign trail.

The regime of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has alleged that its latest ballistic missile firing has been a successful test of a precision-guided system as it has been known to be in pursuit of developing an “aircraft carrier killer”, i.e. an anti-ship ballistic missile.

On Monday, North Korea performed its 10th ballistic missile firing since since Donald Trump became President of the United States, with seven successful and three failed tests. For the past three weeks, it has been firing a ballistic missile each week.

Pyongyang recently said that Kim Jong-un had approved the Pukguksong-2 missile, an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), for mass production.

The recent North Korean provocations have led South Korea to admit that the missile program of Kim Jong-un’s regime is advancing faster than thought, and that a war might be in the making.

North Korea’s regime has claimed that its new rocket could deliver a “large heavy nuclear warhead” all the way to the US mainland.]

Ongoing activity and a large number of people have been spotted at North Korea’s nuclear test site, the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility, amid lingering concerns that the regime of leader Kim Jong-un could carry out its sixth nuclear test.

There have been reports that North Korea has been bracing for a preemptive US missile strike similar to the missile strike on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to the April 4 attack with chemical weapons.

Even though the advanced US missile defense system known as THAAD is already operational in South Korea, and can intercept ballistic missiles launched by the regime of Kim Jong-un in North Korea, South Korean President Moon ordered an investigation into how four allegedly unreported US missile launchers were brought into the country.

‘Not the Time’

Against the backdrop of the latest statements and missile launch by North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on Tuesday on the need for more sanctions and pressure on Kim Jong-un’s regime.

According to South Korea’s Presidency, they said the present moment was not the time for dialogue with the North Korean regime, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Moon and Abe had a 20-minute phone conversation a day after the North’s new ballistic missile test, Moon’s spokesman Park Soo-hyun said.

“I agree with the Prime Minister’s words that now is not the time for dialogue with North Korea, but a time to heighten sanctions and pressure,” Park quoted Moon as saying.

The South Korean President added, however, that the ultimate goal of sanctions and pressure is to bring Pyongyang back to negotiations on its complete denuclearization, the spokesman said.

“That is why the international community must on the one hand respond firmly and on the other hand continue to send the message that dialogue is possible if North Korea gives up its nuclear development,” Moon said, according to Park.

‘Reckless US Imperialists’

As it boasted on Tuesday about its alleged testing of a precision-guided ballistic missile, the North Korean regime also accused the United States of flying B-1B strategic bombers close to its territory and triggering a nuclear war crisis.

A formation of B-1B bombers from Guam flew over Korea on Monday, staging a nuclear bomb dropping drill, Pyongyang’s state news agency KCNA said, as cited by Yonhap.

It added that the US bombers even approached an area 80 km (50 miles) east of Gangneung, an eastern city near the Military Demarcation Line, which serves as the border between the two Koreas.

According to the KCNA, the B-1B bombers were even joined by warplanes from the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier operating near the Korean Peninsula for a “frantic” drill.

“Such military provocation of the US imperialists is a dangerous reckless racket for bringing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of a war,” the KCNA said in the English-language report.

“[The military action] clearly proves that their talk about ‘dialogue’ is nothing but hypocrisy to disarm the DPRK and their wild ambition to eliminate the DPRK with nukes remains unchanged even a bit,” the KCNA argued, using the acronym of North Korea’s official name.

“The US imperialist warmongers should not forget even a moment that their increasing danger of a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula would precipitate a disaster in which the US mainland turns into a scorched earth,” it said.

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