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Moon urges N.K. to stop delusional thinking, come to denuclearization talks

All Headlines 00:00 December 12, 2017

SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in has said that it is "delusional thinking" for North Korea to believe that nuclear weapons will guarantee its security, urging Pyongyang to stop such misjudgment and come out to denuclearization talks.

In a recent interview with China's state-run CCTV, which was aired Monday (local time), Moon also underlined the importance of "close cooperation" between Seoul and Beijing in making Pyongyang give up its nuclear ambitions.

"It is delusional thinking for small countries like North Korea that lag behind in terms of economy to say that they can protect their security only with nuclear weapons," Moon said. "Rather, inter-Korean peace and cooperation will protect its security."

"Therefore, it is very important for the North to change its perception on the nuclear issue and come on to the path toward denuclearization," he added.

The interview was held ahead of Moon's four-day state visit to China, which starts on Wednesday, during which he plans to hold a summit with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

The China trip comes after North Korea test-fired what it claims to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in late November, raising tensions around the Korean Peninsula.

Moon underlined the importance of China in resolving the North nuclear stalemate.

"I think what is most needed is close cooperation between South Korea and China," Moon said. "(I) believe that there will surely be a good outcome should South Korea and China make efforts to bring the North to the negotiating table while taking the same stance (on denuclearization)."

He affirmed that Seoul and Beijing have the same stance on the North Korean nuclear issue, as they believe that sanctions and pressure are needed to prevent further provocations and that peaceful methods should be employed to resolve it.

Moon said that things are "very grave" as the North continues provocations and quickly upgrades its missile capability.

Asked about the upcoming visit to China, Moon placed his top priority on recovering mutual trust between the two countries that he said has been undermined "significantly" in recent months, apparently pointing to the feud over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system called THAAD in South Korea.

"The top priority of my visit to China is placed on recovering mutual trust," he said. "I think relations based on mutual trust are a very important starting point for advancing relations going forward."

Moon reiterated Seoul's stance on THAAD, saying it was an "inevitable" decision for South Korea to allow its installation to defend itself from North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

The president still recognized the concerns that China has about THAAD and noted that South Korea will make sure that the missile defense armament will not violate China's security interests.

"South Korea will pay extra heed to make sure that THAAD will not go beyond its (intended) objectives of defending against the North's nuclear and missile threats and hurt China's security interests," he said. "I can say that we have been assured by the United States on this matter."
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