Seoul will “open a door for dialogue” and pursue diplomacy with Pyongyang despite growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, the presidential office said on Thursday.
Chief of the National Security Office (NSO) Chung Eui-yong convened a two-hour meeting of the standing committee of the National Security Council (NSC) at 3 pm KST.
The meeting came hours after Pyongyang repeated its threat to attack the U.S. territory of Guam with Hwasong-12 ballistic missiles, a plan that, the DPRK military said, was in the “final stages” of development.
“The standing committee… decided to seek all necessary measures to relieve tensions and to manage peace on Korean peninsula in cooperation with the major countries including the U.S. based on the firm ROK – U.S. combined defense posture,” Blue House spokesperson Park Soo-hyun told media.
Park said the standing committee had said that “heightened military tensions and armed conflict on the Korean peninsula do not help any country.”
“Our government – which is the key party directly involved in issues on the Korean peninsula – will open a door for dialogue and actively pursue diplomatic efforts to alleviate the current tension and fundamentally resolve it.”
A presidential spokesperson told media that today’s meeting had been a “regular” one, but that the NSC standing committee had a “long and in-depth discussion due to the seriousness of the situation on the Korean peninsula.”
“[They] also strongly urged the North to immediately stop its activities heightening tensions on the Korean peninsula,” Park said.
Park also said President Moon Jae-in has been “making every effort to protect the lives, safety, and property of the people and national security,” in response to concerns about the President’s non-attendance at the NSC standing committee.
High-ranking South Korean government officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-hwa, Minister of National Defense Song Yong-moo and Director of National Intelligence Service (NIS) Suh Hoon, however, attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on Thursday that the South Korean military had “sternly warned” Pyongyang.
“North Korea’s thoughtless remarks against us including [turning] Seoul into a sea of fire and ludicrous statements against the alliance such as preemptive retaliatory operation and enveloping fire around Guam is a grave challenge to our military and the ROK – U.S. alliance,” Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesperson for the JCS, told media during a regular news briefing.
“If North Korea makes provocation despite our strict warnings, [the North] will face a strong and resolute response from our military and U.S. – ROK alliance.”
When asked why the military had waited a day to issue a statement on the Korean People’s Army (KPA)’s Wednesday declaration that North Korea would turn Seoul into a “sea of fire”, Roh said the aim was to “show the firm determination of our military and the ROK – U.S. alliance” in the face of assessing there was a “serious threat to the ROK – U.S. alliance.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Anthony Surace‘s Flickr
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 504 words of this article.