August 10, 2017 11:48
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday declined to pitch into an war of words between North Korea and the U.S.
Moon met with his new military chiefs at Cheong Wa Dae and said the task facing South Korea is to "acquire the military capability to respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations."
He urged them to bolster South Korea's readiness level and move toward independent defense capabilities, relying less on the U.S. forces stationed here.
Moon said in a telephone call with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday that this "is not the time for dialogue" with North Korea. But he continues to leave open the possibility of talks with the North, including the resumption of humanitarian exchanges.
Cheong Wa Dae officials brushed off the latest threats from the North to turn South Korea into a sea of fire.
A high-ranking Cheong Wa Dae official said, "It's true that the security situation is tense, but we can use this as an opportunity to overcome the crisis."
Regarding North Korea's threat on Tuesday to bomb Guam, the official said, "It is unique for five major North Korean ministries to issue threats, but that seems aimed at heightening fears in South Korea and weakening the U.S.' position."
A key ruling-party official said, "You need to remember that North Korea tends to resort to maximum brinkmanship before turning to dialogue."
But privately some Cheong Wa Dae officials admit they are worried about the increasingly inflamed rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea.
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