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South Korea calls for dialogue not war

Moon Jae-in, the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea, poses for photographs as he watches a television report on an exit poll of the presidential election in Seoul, South Korea May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

MOSCOW, (Sputnik) – North Korea should stop demonstrating threats of exerting force immediately and respond to Seoul’s repeated calls for dialogue aimed at easing tensions in the region, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

On Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened to take decisive steps against the United States, including “physical action,” after the UN Security Council passed new economic sanctions against his country. Rhetoric in the conflict heated up this week after US President Donald Trump warned North Korea it would face “fire and fury” if it did not stop making threats against Washington. Pyongyang responded by threatening to launch four ballistic missiles toward the US Pacific territory of Guam, which hosts several military bases.

“The North’s recent threatening words have gone too much and run squarely against with the consensus contained in the statement issued after the ARF [ASEAN Regional Forum]. It should stop them immediately,” ministerial spokesman Cho June-hyuck said during a regular press briefing, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

The spokesman added that Pyongyang should make the right choice and come on the path toward denuclearization.

Earlier in the day, South Korean authorities said Seoul would act against the North if the latter continued its provocations.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula has become aggravated in recent months due to a series of missile launches and nuclear tests conducted by Pyongyang, all of which are claimed to be in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Most recently, Pyongyang conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July. On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution tightening the sanctions against North Korea.

In a statement following Monday’s ARF meeting in Manila, attended by foreign ministers of Asia-Pacific countries and major powers, the ministers expressed their “grave concern” over the recent ballistic missiles tests, which have only resulted in the escalation of tensions. The ministers also urged North Korea to comply fully with UN Security Council resolutions.

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