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Moon vows to build 'overwhelming' defense but keep door open for N. Korea

All News 15:39 June 23, 2017

SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Friday that his country will not hesitate even for a second to counter any armed provocations from North Korea but will also keep the door open for dialogue with the communist state.

"The government and I will show no hesitation in defending the safety of our people and nation," the president said in a ceremony marking the start of the Korean War 67 years ago Sunday.

"Despite our and the international community's efforts to establish peace, North Korea continues to stage provocations and threaten the safety of the Korean Peninsula," he said at the meeting, according to a script of his speech released by the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

"Such actions certainly deserve condemnation," he said. "We will maintain our security with a strong Korea-U.S. alliance and overwhelming defense capabilities."

"We all know peace is only possible when supported by strong security," he added.

Still, the South Korean president said he will continue to keep the doors open for dialogue with Pyongyang.

"There might be many difficulties and many ups and downs, but peace will only last and be complete when it is achieved through dialogue and cooperation," Moon said.

The president also thanked Korean War veterans, including over 340,000 U.N. troops from 16 countries, including over 300,000 from the United States.

"A long time has passed. But the Republic of Korea and our people did not forget the dedication and sacrifice of you Korean War veterans from home and abroad," he said, referring to his country by its official name.

"And I will do my utmost to make sure your sacrifice will be remembered as more precious in our history."

bdk@yna.co.kr
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