President Moon Jae-in on Thursday warned North Korea against further provocative actions, saying that Pyongyang recent actions could damage dialogue.
Speaking in his first television interview with a local broadcaster, Moon also said that North Korea is likely to be hoping to pressure Seoul and Washington, and that additional launches cannot be ruled out.
“(Seoul and Washington) preliminarily concluded that they are short range missile, as the range was long despite the low altitude,” Moon said.
“Even if it is short-range (missile), if (the projectiles) are ballistic missiles, there is possibility of UN resolutions being violated.”
UN resolutions on North Korea prohibit firing of mid- and long-range ballistic missiles, but resolutions also prohibit the launch of all ballistic missiles, Moon said.
Moon went on to say that South Korea and the US will conduct further analysis before concluding on the nature of Thursday’s provocation.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, North Korea fired two projectile from a location in the country’s northwest. The projectiles, believed to be short-range missiles were fired at 4:29 p.m. and at 4:39 p.m., and flew about 420 kilometers and 270 km, respectively. The projectiles’ altitude reached about 50 km and landed in the East Sea. The launches came just five days after North Korea launched a number of projectiles, include what is believed to be a newly developed guided tactical weapon.
While saying that North Korea’s recent actions do not appear to be in violation of inter-Korean military agreements, Moon warned of consequences should the North continue.
“I want to warn North Korea that dialogue and negotiations could become difficult should such actions be repeated,” Moon said.
Regarding North Korea’s intentions, Moon said that Pyongyang is displaying its dissatisfaction, and pressuring Seoul and her allies.
“(North’s) exact intentions cannot be known, but (Pyongyang) seems to harbor significant discontent at the fact that the Hanoi North-US summit ended without an agreement,” Moon said.
“It is deemed that (the launches) have an element of protest against South Korea and the US. I think an element of pressure, to lead the denuclearization talks in the direction they desire is also contained.”
Saying that North Korea is also likely to be calling for talks to be resumed quickly, Moon stressed that the US and North Korea resuming dialogue is the only practical answer to the situation.
While emphasizing that the North’s current course of action is detrimental to talks, Moon said that he believes that Pyongyang is calculating its moves to avoid ending talks with the US.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)