South Korea remains committed to talks with North

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South Korea’s new government reiterated its desire to improve ties with Pyongyang on Monday, despite a missile test carried out by North Korea a day earlier. reports citing Anadolu news agency.

Chung Eui-yong, head of the National Security Office, said talks should resume while maintaining international sanctions against the North.

“We will have to try and gradually resume dialogue, starting with working-level talks,” he said, according to the Yonhap news agency.

He added: “I believe we must review the possibility as I believe we could resume exchanges in various areas, such as personnel, social, cultural and sports, as long as they do not undermine the international framework of sanctions against North Korea.”

Chung, who was named security chief by President Moon Jae-in on Sunday, told a news briefing that Seoul “must restore dialogue at an early date for a fundamental reduction of tension”.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang published images purportedly captured by a camera fixed to the ballistic missile tested on Sunday.

The pictures seemed to demonstrate the reclusive state’s claim to have mastered atmospheric re-entry technology for the first time.

North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper hailed the successful launch of a Puguksong-2 “medium-to-long range strategic ballistic missile”.

The test, which is a breach of UN resolutions, was condemned by Turkey, the U.S., Japan and South Korea among other nations. It was the second test since Moon was elected on May 9.

Re-entry technology could mean Pyongyang has moved closer to targeting the mainland U.S. with an intercontinental ballistic missile -- a threat the North’s leader Kim Jong-un made earlier this year.

However, the South’s military remains skeptical of the North’s ballistic advances. A spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Pukguksong-2 was thought to be a medium-range missile with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles), meaning it could not even reach the U.S. Pacific base on Guam.

Following Moon’s election, he has promised to heal inter-Korean relations, which have broken down since Kim came to power in 2011.

He has stressed the need to rid the North of any nuclear weapons through dialogue while strengthening the South’s defenses.

2017.05.22 / 17:48
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