Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

South Korea's new president: High possibility of military clashes with North Korea


North Korea said it was a test of its capability to carry a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead", drawing Security Council condemnation.

"This is very different to dialogue, or talks, or anything approaching what might come down the line - but at its most basic it is a sign that the South's new government is trying to be more reconciliatory towards the North despite Sunday's successful test on Sunday and Washington's talks of sanctions at the UN", Thomas said.

The day after the launch, North Korea claimed the fired missile, called Hwasong-12, reached an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers, suggesting that it was a new type of intermediate-range ballistic missile. While Putin said that the west should stop trying to intimidate Kim Jong-un and find a peaceful solution to the situation Kim should not build his nuclear arsenal. The projectile landed some 500km from the Russian border, but posed no threat to security, the Russian Defense Ministry stated.

The White House took note of the missile landing close to Russia's Pacific coast and said in a statement that North Korea has been "a flagrant menace for far too long".

North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes, even from China, its lone major ally, calling them legitimate self-defence. "Calling the complete dismantlement of Pyongyang's nuclear programs an ultimate goal, Moon and Trump both believe that all possible means including sanctions and talks should be used".

South Korea soldiers stand on the Unification Bridge that leads to the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea in Paju in August 2015. This is not play time.

Wang and former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan were expected to discuss ways of containing North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons activities as well as the economic fallout over the deployment in South Korea of the USA missile defense system called THAAD.

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Speaking to reporters ahead of a closed-door UN Security Council meeting, USA ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley also made clear that Washington would talk to North Korea only once it halted its nuclear programme.

Haley said the worldwide community wants to be able to support North Korea, but as long as it continues trying to grow its nuclear programme with missile tests, North Korea would remain an "island". No draft resolution was circulated to the full council, but Ms Haley said the USA is working with China on a text.

"That's what we are working on now".

"If it would be appropriate for me to meet with [Kim Jong Un], I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it", Trump said early this month, adding that a meeting could only take place under "the right circumstances".

"We're not going to continue to just say go ahead and test as often as you want", Haley said, flanked by the South Korean and Japanese ambassadors.

Traditionally, the United States and China have negotiated new sanctions before involving remaining council members.

After the meeting, the council president, Uruguay's Ambassador Elbio Rosselli, said that "clearly sanctions are a way to go", but stressed support for diplomacy to engage with Pyongyang.

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