Moon talks ‘strong security’ and reconciliation after North Korean launches

Seoul, Oct 1 (EFE).- South Korea’s president on Friday highlighted the “strong security posture” of his country and also the need for “reconciliation” on the Korean Peninsula during a speech on Armed Forces Day and hours after Pyongyang announced it had launched a new missile.

“I am proud of our strong security posture. Based on this trust and pride, I hope to usher in a new era of ‘declaration of the end of the war’ and ‘reconciliation and cooperation’ on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon Jae-in said aboard a landing platform helicopter ship near the city of Pohang.

Moon’s speech come hours after North Korea said it had carried out its fourth missile test in the last three weeks on Thursday, and a day after it was announced that the North’s leader Kim Jong-un would restore communication hotlines with the South.

Moon did not refer to the latest launch and nor mention North Korea in his speech.

A week ago at the United Nations, the South Korean president proposed a peace treaty to officially end the conflict that began in 1950 between the two Koreas, which are technically still at war, since only a ceasefire was signed in 1953.

Pyongyang said that it is still too early to sign such a treaty and stressed again the need for greater mutual trust and a more tolerant attitude on the part of Seoul.

In recent days, amid the new North Korean weapons tests, Seoul has kept a low profile. But Moon showed more assertiveness Friday when addressing the troops, assuring that to “any act that threatens the life and safety of the people, the government and military will respond decisively.”

He also highlighted the increase in the defense budget, which he said has risen 37 percent since 2017.

In this regard, Moon highlighted the development of new-generation weapons that Seoul already boasted about in mid-September to send a message to Pyongyang.

He said the South is “developing and deploying much more powerful missiles,” new submarines capable of launching ballistic missiles and a new KF-21 fighter jet, and is already preparing solid-fuel space rockets to launch more reconnaissance satellites.

The Korean Peninsula has recently plunged into an arms escalation, while dialogue on denuclearization has remained stagnant since 2019. EFE


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