South Korea’s president promises Seoul is safe; U.S. will not strike without his permission

by WorldTribune Staff, August 17, 2017

The United States will not take military action against North Korea without South Korea’s consent, South Korean President Moon Jae-In said on Aug. 17.

“I say this with confidence that there will be no war on the Korean Peninsula ever again,” Moon said in a press conference marking his first 100 days in office.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In speaks during an Aug. 17 press conference marking his first 100 days in office. / AP

“Basically, the Republic of Korea is the one directly and mostly affected by North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues,” Moon said. “But it is also an issue between the North and the United States. Therefore, should North Korea continue to take provocative actions, or even take an aggressive action against the United States, the U.S. may take appropriate steps.”

Moon added: “However, I am saying any military action to be taken on the Korean Peninsula requires South Korea’s consent unless it is taken outside the peninsula. Also, even if the United States takes military action outside the peninsula, I am confident it will sufficiently consult with South Korea in advance if such action may increase tension between the South and the North.”

Moon insisted Trump’s “fire and fury” and “locked and loaded” remarks were aimed at increasing pressure on Pyongyang rather than signaling imminent military action against the Kim Jong-Un regime.

“The U.S. sought to put maximum pressure and sanctions through the latest UN Security Council resolution,” Moon said. “At the same time, it is seeking unilateral measures, and I believe President Trump sought to pressure North Korea by showing a firm determination. I do not necessarily believe that showed his determination to take military options.”

Moon did, however, warn the North tht it was nearing a “red line” with its continued pursuit of nuclear-capable ICBMs.

“I believe North Korea completing its development of ICBMs and mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles will mark its crossing the red line,” Moon said. “North Korea is nearing the critical point. And that is why we must prevent North Korea’s additional provocations.”

When asked about the South’s relations with Japan, Moon said he is willing to improve the countries’ cooperation in dealing with regional issues, including the North Korean nuclear and missile provocations.

Moon said the two countries need to address history issues separately. Yonhap reported.

Moon said the agreement signed in late 2015 on Japan’s sexual slavery of Korean women during its 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea “does not override the victims’ individual rights to claim indemnity.”

On the issue of thousands of Koreans forced into labor during the period, Moon noted South Korea’s Supreme Court ruling that former agreements between the two governments do not forfeit individual victim’s rights to seek compensation from their former Japanese employers.

“Only, what I am stressing is that such historical issues must not be an obstacle to the future-oriented development of the Korea-Japan relations,” Moon said. “That is why we must deal with historical issues as historical issues and the countries’ future-oriented cooperation separately.”

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