South Korea wants to reopen communications with North

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/5/17 23:43:39

South Korea said on Wednesday it wanted to reopen communications with North Korea as new President Moon Jae-in seeks a two-track policy involving sanctions and dialogue with its reclusive neighbor to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes.

North Korea has made no secret of the fact that it is working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US mainland and has ignored calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programs.

Its latest ballistic missile launch, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, was on Sunday which it said was a test of its capability to carry a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead," drawing Security Council condemnation.

"Our most basic stance is that communication lines between South and North Korea should open," Lee Duk-haeng, a spokesperson for the South's Unification Ministry, told reporters. "The Unification Ministry has considered options on this internally but nothing has been decided yet."

Communications were severed by the North last year, Lee said, in the wake of new sanctions following North Korea's last nuclear test and Pyongyang's decision to shut down a joint industrial zone operated inside the North.

North Korea and the South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The North defends its weapons programs as necessary to counter US hostility.

Moon won an election last week campaigning on a more moderate approach to the North and said after taking office that he wants to pursue dialogue as well as pressure to stop the North's weapons programs.



Posted in: ASIA-PACIFIC

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