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S. Korea vows more efforts to prod N.K. into giving up nukes

All News 10:00 January 22, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Friday it will put a priority on resolving North Korea's nuclear issue this year by joining the international community's move to impose stronger sanctions against Pyongyang over the North's latest nuke test.

Seoul will sternly respond to additional North Korean provocations while it will also push for its inter-Korean policy aimed at building mutual trust to pave the way for reunification, according to the government.

The Foreign Ministry, the Unification Ministry, and the Defense Ministry laid out such proposals in their joint 2016 policy reports to President Park Geun-hye.

Last year, the government focused on efforts to end animosity between the two Koreas and prepare for unification. But the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue is being placed on the top of this year's policy goals, it said.

North Korea has claimed it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb for the first time early this month, drawing international condemnation. The U.N. Security Council is working on a fresh resolution for stronger sanctions against the North.

"The government is monitoring current developments over the North's nuke test very seriously," said a ranking government official. "We will put a priority on resolving the North's nuke issue with stronger pressure."

The Foreign Ministry said that it will focus on seeking global coordination over the North's nuclear issue.

The Unification Ministry which handles inter-Korean affairs said that it will place efforts to deal with North Korea's nuke problems before seeking dialogue with North Korea. Seoul said it will bring up the North's denuclearization issue at inter-Korean talks down the road.

"Now is time to focus on how to slap sanctions against North Korea. We are not in a situation to talk about dialogue and cooperation with North Korea," a government official said.

The Defense Ministry said it will beef up the country's security posture to better cope with the possibility of additional North Korean nuclear tests and provocations.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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