Moon Warns N.Korea Is Nearing 'Red Line'

  • By Jeong Woo-sang

    August 18, 2017 10:51

    President Moon Jae-in on Thursday warned North Korea will cross over a "red line" if it weaponizes nuclear warheads and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    He was speaking at a press conference marking his first 100 days in office. The "red line" has been set down by South Korea and the U.S. for North Korean provocations to trigger a military response.

    "I would consider that North Korea is crossing a red line if it launches an intercontinental ballistic missile again and weaponizes it by putting a nuclear warhead on top," Moon added.

    President Moon Jae-in answers questions from reporters at a press conference at Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday. /Newsis

    But critics wondered whether Moon has already started moving the goal posts. He only mentioned an ICBM as crossing the line, but not short- or mid-range North Korean missiles which are capable of striking targets in South Korea.

    Kim Hee-sang of the Korea Institute for National Security Affairs, who was a defense adviser to former President Roh Moo-hyun, said, "Nuclear-armed ICBMs constitute the red line in the president's view, but the red line that places South Korea within striking range of a nuclear attack is Scud and Rodong missiles, and it has been crossed a long time ago."

    Moon acknowledged that South Korea is the country most affected by North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles, but did not say whether this is already a clear and present danger.

    Moon once again stressed that "there will be no war here again," as he did in his Liberation Day address earlier this week. "Nobody can make a decision on military action on the peninsula without South Korea's consent," he said. U.S. President Donald Trump "also said whatever option he would use, he would fully discuss it with South Korea and seek its consent beforehand. It is a firm agreement between South Korea and the U.S."

    He said dialogue with the North is necessary, but any meeting must produce results.

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