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South Korea vows to “common deterrence” against North Korea’s weapons tests

US and South Korea vowed to take

US Special Envoy for North Korea Sung Kim (left) shakes hands with South Korea’s Special Envoy for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk, during a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, April 18, 2022. Photo: Reuters

The US special envoy for North Korea, Mr. Sung Kim and his deputy, Jung Pak, met with South Korean officials, including top nuclear envoy Noh Kyu-duk, after arriving in Seoul early in the day. April 18. The visit is expected to last 5 days.

“The most important thing for the United Nations Security Council is to send a clear signal to the DPRK that we will not accept its escalating tests,” Kim told reporters. after the meeting with Mr. Noh.

“We all agree that it is necessary to maintain the strongest possible joint deterrence on the peninsula,” he said.

Kim also said allies would “react responsibly and decisively to provocations”, adding that he was ready to engage with North Korea “anywhere without any need”. under what conditions”.

Kim is expected to meet the administration of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who will take office in May, during the visit.

The spokesman said there had been no confirmed meeting between Mr. Yoon and Mr. Kim, but Mr. Yoon’s diplomatic candidate, Park Jin, said he had planned to meet with Mr. Kim. Mr. Sung Kim also said during his conversation with Mr. Noh that Washington looks forward to working closely with President Yoon’s administration.

Kim’s appearance coincides with the start of a nine-day joint military exercise by the US and South Korean militaries.

The drills include “defensive command post training using computer simulations” and will not involve the military’s field exercises, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on April 17.

North Korea accuses the joint drills of being a rehearsal for war. The drills have been scaled back in recent years amid diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang and also due to restrictions imposed by Covid-19.

On April 16, North Korea conducted a successful missile test, with state media suggesting that the test was related to the transfer of tactical nuclear weapons.

The US special envoy has repeatedly suggested reconnecting with North Korea, but Pyongyang has so far rejected this proposal, citing Washington’s maintenance of hostile policies such as many sanctions and holding meetings. exercise.

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