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War in Korea unlikely: NSC chief

South Korea and the US do not consider a war on the Korean Peninsula likely, despite rising tensions, Seoul’s National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong revealed Thursday.

According to the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, Chung revealed that the US does not consider war likely, in a meeting with the party’s Floor Leader Rep. Woo Won-shik and other lawmakers at the National Assembly. 

National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong speaks to reporters at the National Assembly on Thursday. Yonhap
National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong speaks to reporters at the National Assembly on Thursday. Yonhap


“Chung reported that (Seoul) has confirmed (with the US) that war will not break out, through many channels,” Democratic Party floor spokesman Rep. Kang Hoon-sik said.

According to Kang, Chung revealed that he and Seoul’s Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha are in constant contact with their US counterparts, and that Seoul was in similarly close communication with China.

“Chung reported that based on their conversations, the danger of imminent war on the peninsula is deemed unlikely.”

Kang added that the lawmakers present at the meeting requested Chung maintain Seoul’s relations with Beijing and Washington, and added that the parliament will closely monitor how the environmental impact study on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is carried out.

Following North Korea’s latest missile launch, which is widely considered to represent significant advancements in Pyongyang intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, President Moon Jae-in ordered the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense deployment to be hastened. At an NSC meeting following the missile launch, Moon ordered four more THAAD launchers to be deployed in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, on a temporary basis. The environmental impact study reinitiated by the Moon Jae-in administration will go ahead as planned. The government maintains that the decision to deploy THAAD in South Korea will not be changed.

At Thursday’s meeting, Chung also informed the lawmakers that the related government organizations are taking steps to counter North Korea’s growing threat, including the temporary THAAD deployment, and initiating talks with the US on revising the missile development agreement.

Regarding North Korea, Chung told reporters that the Kim Jong-un regime will face tougher international sanctions.

Highlighting that North Korea’s actions could bring “fundamental changes in the security environment for South Korea and the region,” Chung said that Seoul must respond effectively to the North’s provocations.

(By Choi He-suk cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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