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Moon slams North Korea’s missile test amid efforts for dialogue

President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook attend the sixth anniversary of the Yellow Sea Defense Day held at the Navy's 2nd Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, on Friday. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook attend the sixth anniversary of the Yellow Sea Defense Day held at the Navy's 2nd Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, on Friday. (Yonhap)

President Moon Jae-in on Friday expressed deep concerns over North Korea’s recent missile launches, calling any action that hampers ongoing efforts for resuming dialogue “undesirable.”

“I’m aware the people are concerned about North Korea’s missile launches yesterday,” Moon said in his speech during a ceremony honoring patriotic servicemen who sacrificed their lives to defend the Yellow Sea during maritime battles against North Korea.

“Now is the time for South and North Korea and the US to ramp up efforts to continue talks. Any action that hampers the efforts is undesirable.”

The president also assured the people that Seoul is fully ready to respond to any provocation from Pyongyang on the firm principle of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, boasting the nation’s advanced missile and military capabilities.

His remarks come after North Korea earlier in the day admitted that it had test-fired two new tactical guided missiles on Thursday, four days after its short-range cruise missile test on Sunday received a lukewarm response from Seoul and Washington authorities as “normal military activity.”

Thursday’s missile firings were the first ballistic missile launch by North Korea since President Joe Biden of the US took office in January, which is also a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.

With the latest show of force, North Korea may intend to gain leverage as the US is continuing a full review of its North Korea policies in close consultations with allies, including South Korea.

The US National Security Council will host the security advisers of South Korea and Japan in Washington next week before the final draft of its new North Korea policy is completed in the coming weeks.

Yellow Sea Defense Day has been celebrated on the fourth Friday of March every year since 2016 to remember those who were killed in waters off the west coast during three North Korean provocations in 2002 and 2010.

This year marked the 11th anniversary of two of the three incidents – North Korea’s deadly sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan on March 26, 2010 and the communist nation’s artillery shelling of Yeonpyeongdo, a front-line island in the Yellow Sea, on Nov. 23, 2010.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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