Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Seoul will "open a door for dialogue" with the North: presidential office

Seoul will

Top security advisers of South Korea and the United States agreed Friday to discuss in advance any steps they could take to contain provocative North Korea, Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said, apparently suggesting the US will not pre-emptively strike the communist North without informing Seoul beforehand.

Guam's Homeland Security Adviser George Charfauros says officials there are confident "the U.S. Department of Defense is monitoring this situation very closely and is maintaining a condition of readiness".

South Korea on Thursday called on North to "immediately stop" its belligerent rhetoric amid a recent spike in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. In a regular briefing, Ministry of Unification spokesperson Baik Tae-hyun responded to references to Seoul being turned into a "sea of fire" and an "enveloping strike" operation on Guam, which appeared in spokesperson's statements from the North Korean People's Army General Staff and Army Strategic Force.

"Park made the remark during a discussion on North Korea and inter-Korean relations amid heightened tensions in the wake of the North's surprise threat to fire missiles into waters around the U.S. territory of Guam as a warning against Washington". Washington has repeatedly said that it doesn't rule out any scenario of dealing with the North Korean nuclear problem, including a military one. In July, North Korea made two test launches of ballistic missiles that provoked sharp reaction from the United States, Japan and South Korea.

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Ministry spokesman Baek Tae-hyun said South Korean and USA officials were closely monitoring relevant moves in preparation for North Korea's "further provocation", Xinhua news agency reported.

Still, Park said that efforts to reduce tension and promote peace must continue, and exchanges between cities can be a way to do so.

As soon as the plan is developed, it will be referred to North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un who will kick off its implementation, if need be, KCNA noted.

"President Trump has said 'all options are on the table.' We, as a government, welcome this stance". But experts say the Japanese military does not now have the capability to shoot down a missile in high altitude.

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