November 15, 2023 13:20
President Yoon Suk-yeol has warned of risks from North Korea's impending launch of space rocket and its military cooperation with Russia.
In a written interview with the Associated Press ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco this week, he said, "If North Korea succeeds in launching the military reconnaissance satellite, it would signify that North Korea's [intercontinental ballistic missile] capabilities have been taken to a higher level."
The technology for space rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles is the same, he added. The North first tried to launch a military spy satellite in October, but the rocket crashed.
Yoon said he will underscore diverse security threats to the Korean Peninsula and the world posed by the "illegal" military cooperation between the North and Russia and "discuss ways to strengthen cooperation."
He recalled that North Korea has test-launched a total of 87 missiles since he took office, jeopardizing peace and security of Northeast Asia and the world.
Military cooperation between the North and Russia, which is banned by UN Security Council resolutions, threatens not only the Korean Peninsula but also the rules-based international order, he added. "An effective way to prevent North Korea from miscalculating is to demonstrate our robust deterrence capabilities and determination towards North Korea based on the solid [South Korea]-U.S. joint defense posture."
He said recent visits to Seoul by U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demonstrate the solidity of the alliance.
"Current global challenges -- arising from the war in Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas conflict, the climate crisis and high inflation -- offer an opportunity for APEC to demonstrate its leadership again by spearheading efforts to overcome crises and to spur innovation through regional cooperation," he added.
Yoon leaves for San Francisco on Wednesday.
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