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(LEAD) Moon urges N. Korea to make efforts for dialogue after Pyongyang fires suspected missile

Politics 14:27 January 05, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS remarks, details from para 7, photo)
By Kim Deok-hyun

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday called for North Korea to make efforts for dialogue in a more earnest manner, after Pyongyang launched a suspected ballistic missile into the sea in this year's first show of force.

"This morning, North Korea test-fired an unidentified short-range projectile," Moon told a groundbreaking ceremony for a railway at an inter-Korean border town. "Because of this, there are concerns that tensions could rise and a stalemate of inter-Korean relations could further deepen."

But in order to fundamentally overcome this situation, Moon said the South should not give up on dialogue.

"North Korea also should make efforts in a more earnest manner," Moon said.

South Korea's military said North Korea fired what is presumed to be a ballistic missile toward the East Sea earlier in the day.

It marks the North's first projectile launch since the regime fired off a new submarine-launched ballistic missile in October last year.

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a ceremony at Jejin Station in Goseong on South Korea's east coast near the border with North Korea on Jan. 5, 2022, to mark the construction of a 110.9-kilometer-long railway of the Donghae Line linking the border town to the east coastal city of Gangneung. (Yonhap)

North Korea has shunned talks on its nuclear program since the no-deal summit in 2019 between leader Kim Jong-un and then U.S. President Donald Trump.

Wednesday's launch of a suspected missile came shortly before Moon attended the ceremony to build the single-track line from the east coastal city of Gangneung to the border town of Jejin. The line has been left unconnected since 1967.

Relinking cross-border roads and railways was one of the key agreements reached during the 2018 meeting between Moon and Kim at the border village of Panmunjom that set off a wave of detente.

But the peace mood has since come to a halt as the second summit between Kim and Trump ended without an agreement.

The construction of the Gangneung-Jejin line had gained attention because of its possible connection to a railway in North Korea.

Moon said the construction of the Gangneung-Jejin line "symbolically shows our trust and willingness" to relink a railway in North Korea.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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