After the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched a missile into Northern Pacific waters near Japan, South Korea's President ordered live-fire missile tests of their own, and said that dialogue with the North is “impossible.”
“In case North Korea undertakes provocations against us or our ally, we have the power to destroy them beyond recovery,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.
“Dialogue is impossible in a situation like this. International sanctions and pressure will further tighten to force North Korea to choose no other option but to step forward on the path to genuine dialogue,” the president said according to Yonhap.
The statements come following South Korea launching several live missile tests.
Moon said he was ordering South Korea to be prepared against additional “possible threats” from the DPRK beyond missile technology, listing electromagnetic pulse weapons and biological agents as examples, as reported by Yonhap. He continued to encourage South Koreans to “trust” their government and “go about their lives.”
South Korea is also calling for a “revision” of an existing restriction on payload and range for South Korean missiles. U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to work on ending the restrictions earlier this month.
China's Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, reiterated calls on Friday for a peaceful and diplomatic solution, including their “dual-stop” plan which would entail the freezing of ongoing military exercises on the part of South Korea and the United States in exchange for no more missile tests from the DPRK. The United States has so far rejected the plan, which is also backed by Russia.
U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, continued the Trump administration's approach of using the tension on the Korean peninsula to apply political pressure on China.
“China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own,” Tillerson said. He said that Russia employs “North Korean forced labor.”
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, responded sharply, saying that China has already made enormous sacrifices to put in effect the United Nations Security Council resolutions. While China agreed to the last round of sanctions against the DPRK, it played a strong role in negotiating them down to be significantly weaker than the U.S. had originally hoped.
The DPRK launched another “unidentified missile” from the Pyongyang region on Thursday morning. The projectile flew to an altitude of 770 kilometers over Japan and flew a distance of 3,700 kilometers before crashing into North Pacific waters.
The latest test comes on the tail of the most recent round of U.N. Security Council sanctions, and only several weeks after a successful test of a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which also flew over Japan and into the ocean, as well as a successful test of what DPRK leadership claimed was a hydrogen bomb.
The latest tests and tensions are taking place against a backdrop of ongoing war games orchestrated between the U.S. and South Korea, involving tens of thousands of troops and live bombing exercises. The war games have taken place annually since the end of the devastating conflict known in the U.S. as the Korean War, and have been a key source of tension on the peninsula.