NATIONAL

Allies not considering naval blockade on NK

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : Dec 1, 2017 - 17:00
  • Updated : Dec 1, 2017 - 17:21
Military options and naval blockade of North Korea are not being discussed between Seoul and Washington, a high-level presidential official said Friday denying related news reports.

(Yonhap)


On Friday, a high-level Cheong Wa Dae official told the local media that President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump did not discuss any such measures during their earlier telephone conversations.

Since North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in the early hours of Wednesday, Moon and Trump has held two telephone conservations. After the first, held Wednesday, local media outlets reported that the US Navy was considering a complete naval blockade of North Korea, and that the move would involve the navies of South Korea and Japan.

“A naval blockade was not mentioned in the conversation between the two leaders yesterday,” the official said on condition of anonymity. The official added that the two governments were not discussing a naval blockade, and that Trump made no mention of taking military action.

“Plans for a naval blockade will not be announced in the future. A naval blockade would require new resolutions from the (UN) Security Council, and its efficacy must be reviewed from multiple angles.”

South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo, however, told lawmakers that while the US has made no such suggestions, his ministry would consider the option.

The official also said that there were no disparities in Seoul and Washington’s views on North Korea’s latest missile. Although Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense has since assessed the missile to be capable of reaching Washington, Cheong Wa Dae has put forward a more cautious assessment. While acknowledging the apparent advancements in Pyongyang’s missile technologies, and the estimated range of the latest missile, Cheong Wa Dae has voiced doubt about whether North Korea is capable of mounting a nuclear warhead, and to bring the projectile back into the atmosphere.

Following the launch, North Korea claimed that it has now completed IBCM development, and that it was now a nuclear state.

Regarding the “red line” in North Korea’s provocations, the official said that the term and whether Pyongyang has crossed it have no significance under the current circumstances.

During the press conference marking his 100th day in office, Moon had said that the “red line,” meaning the point of no return in the North Korean nuclear issue, was Pyongyang securing the technology to develop ICBMs with thermonuclear warheads.

“South Korea and the US are applying the most stern pressures and sanctions, and all members of the international community is participating,” he said.

“President Trump has even requested China to cut off its crude oil supply (to North Korea). Under such circumstances, it is not important what measures will or will not be taken based on whether the red line has been crossed.”

(cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)