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Acting president vows to strongly respond to N.K. nuke threats

All Headlines 11:05 January 02, 2017

By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday vowed to strongly respond to North Korea's growing nuclear threats through close international cooperation.

His remarks came a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said Pyongyang is in the "closing phase" of preparations to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile, a message that has foreshadowed yet another military provocation by the wayward regime.

"To ensure that there would not be any slightest problem in our robust security, we will strengthen our defense capabilities, and strongly respond to North Korea's nuclear threats through close cooperation with the international community," Hwang said during a speech at the government's New Year kick-off ceremony.

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn gives a speech at the government's kick-off ceremony for the new year at the central government complex in Seoul on Jan. 2, 2017. (Yonhap)

He also pledged to expand diplomatic cooperation with the United States, Japan, China and Russia, stressing he would ensure there would not be any foreign policy vacuum despite President Park Geun-hye being suspended after her impeachment last month over a corruption scandal.

During his speech, he outlined the government's policy priorities for the new year that focus on enhancing national defense, revitalizing the economy, securing future growth engines and ensuring public safety.

On the economic front, Hwang said that the government will try to reduce uncertainties stemming from internal and external risks in a preemptive manner, and mobilize "all available resources" to reinvigorate the sluggish economy.

He said that the government will take bold steps to remove unnecessary regulations, and strive harder to restore domestic consumption and bolster exports. He also pledged to enhance support for small and medium-sized firms, start-ups and new industries.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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