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S. Korea will not cling to meaningless dialogue with North: defense chief

All News 13:50 June 04, 2016

By Park Boram

SINGAPORE, June 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has ruled out any dialogue with North Korea until the communist country takes action to give up its nuclear weapons, Defense Minister Han Min-koo said Saturday, calling for concerted international effort to pressure Pyongyang.

South Korea has rebuffed North Korea's proposals for working-level military talks which were issued on May 21 and 24, respectively, following Kim Jong-un's calls for inter-Korean dialogue made during the rare ruling party congress held in early May in Pyongyang.

"North Korea's recent proposal for dialogue in the absence of any statements for denuclearization is a disguised peace proposal that lacks sincerity," Han said in a speech to the Asia Security Summit in Singapore.

"The Republic of Korea will not cling to such meaningless dialogue," the defense minister said.

He said the dialogue proposals were only intended to thwart the international community's sanctions on North Korea adopted in retaliation of its defiant nuclear test and long-range missile launch earlier this year.

"The dialogue we seek is ... one that is preceded by a strategic decision from North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal and a show by action that it will relinquish its nuclear ambitions," the policymaker noted.

Han called for the international community's "collective strength" to push for North Korea's denuclearization.

"If North Korea's unpredictable nuclear provocations are not put to an immediate halt, this would shatter humanity's dream of a world without nuclear weapons and spell the end of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime," he said.

Touching on intensifying U.S.-China rows over China's expanding military presence in the South China Sea, Han said relevant international agreements and norms should be the basis for resolving the issue.

The minister also stressed that the freedom of navigation and overflight should be ensured.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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