NATIONAL

President Moon attends missile test in warning against N. Korea

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jun 23, 2017 - 16:46
  • Updated : Jun 25, 2017 - 10:56

President Moon Jae-in on Friday observed the test-firing of South Korea‘s own ballistic missile, in an apparent warning to North Korea amid Pyongyang’s relentless missile provocations. 

“President Moon visited the test site at the Agency for Defense Development this morning, where he observed the test-firing of the ballistic missile and inspected the readiness posture against possible missile threats from North Korea,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Soo-hyun said in a briefing.

The president’s visit to the state-run defense agency in Anheung, Gangwon Province, was apparently intended to send a stern warning to the communist regime to discourage military provocations, according to Park.

President Moon Jae-in on Friday visits the test site at the Agency for Defense Development located in Anheung to observe the test-firing of the ballistic missile Hyunmoo-2. (Cheong Wa Dae)

The Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missile, which has a maximum range of 800 kilometers, is part of the “Kill Chain” preemptive strike program.

The test-fire ended in success as the missile traveled its expected range and hit precisely on the target spot, according to the Blue House.

“The successful test-firing of the Hyunmoo-2 indicates that (South Korea) has secured a maximum firing range based on the New Missile Guideline,” Park said, adding that the given test was the fourth of the six sessions planned before official weaponization.

The key point of the president’s attendance was to reassure the public by demonstrating the nation’s defense capacities and to send a warning to North Korea.

“There have been concerns on my visit here today, but I felt the need to let our people know that our military is sufficiently equipped in terms of missiles,” the spokesperson quoted the president as saying.

“I am a person who believes in dialogue, but talks may only be possible on the basis of strong national defense capabilities.”

The president thus claimed that the weapon systems developed by the agency are ultimately a means of communication, not tools of destruction or killing.

Moon’s remarks came in response to the worries that his conspicuous actions against the communist neighbor may complicate the agendas to be addressed during his summit with US counterpart Donald Trump next week.

“(Today’s test-firing) was due to take place under the supervision of the National Security Office chief (Chung Eui-yong) but it was the president who decided to attend himself,” Park explained.

Since Moon took office in early May, North Korea has test-fired five ballistic missiles, one of them being a new intermediate-range missile, adding to the inter-Korea tension which had grown during the former conservative Park Geun-hye administration.

The new liberal president, along with his calls for peaceful talks, has been stressing the need for stronger sanctions on the North, should it continue its missile test or a sixth nuclear test.

While adding pressure upon the North, however, President Moon also spoke of the necessity of communications with the reclusive regime.

“Despite our efforts for peace, North Korea has been posing threats upon the security of the Korean Peninsula, which is deplorable,” Moon said in his speech at the commemorative ceremony marking the 67th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

He thereby underlined the importance of a strong Korea-US alliance and an overwhelming national security system.

“But at the same time, we shall leave the gate open to the possibility of dialogue, so that North Korea may voluntarily renounce its nuclear armament and choose peace and prosperity,” Moon said.

He also vowed to make the best out of the upcoming summit in Washington so as to tighten the Korea-US alliance and to seek solutions to the North Korean nuclear issue.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)