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S. Korea urges NK to end provocations, accept dialogue offer

All Headlines 11:19 July 31, 2017

SEOUL, July 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's unification ministry on Monday urged North Korea to stop provocations and accept Seoul's sincere offer for inter-Korean dialogue following Pyongyang's latest missile launch.

The call was made after North Korea fired another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) late Friday, claiming that the whole U.S. mainland is within its striking range.

"South Korea sternly responds to North Korea's provocations. There is no change in the government's stance that it will seek both sanctions and dialogue," Baik Tae-hyun, ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

The North responded to Seoul's latest offer for inter-Korean military and family reunion talks with its ICBM test, dampening President Moon Jae-in's rapprochement approach.

This photo unveiled by North Korea's state news agency on July 29, 2017, shows the country's test of another intercontinental ballistic missile a day earlier. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

The South previously proposed holding military talks on easing border tensions on July 21 and Red Cross talks Tuesday to discuss the resumption of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

"The government will make persistent efforts for North Korea's denuclearization, as well as peace and security on the Korean Peninsula," Baik said.

Moon unveiled his vision for bringing peace to the divided peninsula during his speech in Berlin in early July. His initiative includes making the North giving up nuclear weapons while guaranteeing the security of the North's regime.

Despite Seoul's vow to keep its dual-track approach, experts said that Seoul is likely to focus sanctions on the North for a while.

Moon ordered government officials on Saturday to consider fresh unilateral sanctions following the South's similar punitive measures in 2016 in response to Pyongyang's two nuke tests.

"Relevant ministries are known to be reviewing them," Baik said.


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