16:33 GMT +309 December 2019
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    South Korean FM Urges Pyongyang 'Not to Miss Opportunity' to Establish Dialogue

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    South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha called on North Korea not to "miss an opportunity" to ensure favorable environment for negotiations by refraining from further "provocations."

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — The South Korean top diplomat said that Russia, China, as well as the United States are also "sending a signal" concerning the escalation on the Korean Peninsula.

    "What is more important than anything else is that the North should stop additional provocations to create an environment for talks. The U.S. is sending such a signal, as are China and Russia. The North should not miss the opportunity," Kang told a briefing, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

    The minister also stressed that North Korea's "safety and economic development can be guaranteed only by its denuclearization."

    "Should it make the right decision, we are willing to provide a bright future together with the international community," Kang said.

    On Saturday, North Korea test fired short-rage ballistic missiles off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula. The US Pacific Command said it had detected three launches, two of which failed in flight, while a third one appeared to have blown up almost immediately. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated the missiles had traveled over 150 miles before plunging into the Sea of Japan.

    After new Pyongyang's missile launch, South Korean media reported citing a source that South Korean President Moon Jae-in's administration does not rule out that recent short-range missile launches by Pyongyang demonstrate North Korea’s readiness for dialogue despite the ongoing US-South Korean drills, criticized by the DPRK.

    The situation on the Korean Peninsula has become aggravated in recent months due to Pyongyang's missile launches and nuclear tests, all conducted in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

    In June, Moscow and Beijing initiated a road map for the settlement of the North Korean crisis, the so-called "double freeze" plan, which provides for the simultaneous cessation of North Korea's nuclear activity and the US-South Korean military exercises. The initiative has been rejected by the United States. North Korea has yet to issue a response to the proposal.

    Earlier in the day, South Korean President Moon Jae-in instructed the country's Armed Forces to prepare an offensive strategy to be used in the event of a North Korean attack on Seoul. He also stressed the importance of implementing defense reform in light of the growing threat from the country's northern neighbor.


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