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S. Korean president calls for deterrence against N. Korea's missile threats

All Headlines 17:11 June 13, 2017

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in reiterated his resolve to strengthen South Korea's defense capabilities against North Korea Tuesday, while asking the combined forces of the country and the United States here to maintain their strong defense posture to fend off the communist country's nuclear and missile provocations.

The president's call for a stronger Korea-U.S. alliance came during his first visit to the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC), led by Gen. Vincent Brooks, who is also the commander of the United Nations Command and U.S. Forces Korea.

"The Korea-U.S. alliance has successfully deterred a North Korean invasion for more than 60 years since the end of Korean War. The same strength now ensures peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and it also provided the foundation of democracy and development South Korea now enjoys," President Moon told the CFC leadership that included CFC deputy commander Gen. Leem Ho-young of the South Korean Army.

Moon, however, said the North's provocations were growing in both frequency and seriousness, noting the communist state has launched missiles on five different occasions in just a month since his inauguration on May 10.

"Now, we need to build our defense capabilities against not only North Korea's conventional weapons, but also against their nuclear and missile threats," he said.

"Also, we must work to induce a change in North Korea's attitude based on our Korea-U.S. alliance. Ultimately, we must find ways to fundamentally remove threats from North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles," the president added.

Moon's remarks followed a special probe into the deployment of THAAD, a U.S. missile defense system, here, which has effectively suspended the scheduled installation of at least four launchers, in addition to two that have already been installed.

The outcome of the probe, released last week, called for an environmental impact assessment.

Cheong Wa Dae officials have noted the environmental test may prevent the deployment of the additional four launchers, but not require the withdrawal of the two already deployed.

"The government has no intention to fundamentally change what it has promised under the Korea-U.S. alliance," Chung Eui-yong, chief of the presidential National Security Office, said earlier.

The president called for efforts to set up what he called a three-way defense system.

"We must work to strengthen the Korea-U.S. alliance while maintaining a strong defense posture of the Korea-U.S. joint forces to set up a trilateral defense system with the Korean military's defense system against North Korean nukes and missiles at an early date," he said.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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