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Talks about preemptive strike seen as indication of urgency: foreign ministry

All Headlines 16:42 February 02, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's foreign ministry said Thursday that it sees growing talks in the U.S. about a possible preemptive strike against North Korea as a reflection of the sense of urgency in Washington.

During the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing held on Tuesday (Washington time), lawmakers and experts argued that a preemptive strike and a regime change could be among the options in dealing with the North bent on developing nuclear weapons.

The call for such action appears to be gaining more traction under the Donald Trump administration apparently based on frustration and worries that the current sanctions regime might not be enough to make the North change its course.

"We see the fact that the 115th foreign relations committee held its first hearing and discussed North Korea as a sign that shows how serious and grave the U.S. government views the North's nuclear issue and what its top priorities are," Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said at a regular press briefing.

Cho noted that U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis visiting Seoul as his first overseas trip since taking office and the Senate committee's discussion on the North clearly demonstrates how much priority the Donald Trump administration places on this matter.

The spokesman also said that the government is communicating with the U.S. on the nuclear front and will maintain close cooperation with the ally on related matters going forward.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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