Lee denounces N.K. missile tests for dividing public ahead of election
SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- Ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung said Friday he "strongly denounces" North Korea's recent missile launches as an act that divides public opinion in South Korea ahead of the presidential election.
Lee of the liberal Democratic Party made the remark during a visit to the 2nd Marine Division in Gimpo, northwest of Seoul, referring to the North's six missile tests since the start of the year.
"I think it is very regrettable and strongly denounce the act of dividing public opinion and causing instability on the Korean Peninsula with intensive missile launches ahead of the Republic of Korea's presidential election," he said.
Lee's open condemnations of North Korea's weapons tests have been seen as an effort to distance himself from the dovish Moon Jae-in government and improve his chances in the March 9 election.
He repeated his call on other presidential candidates to join him in drawing up a declaration urging the North to stop all actions raising tensions on the peninsula, stop interfering in the election and work to resume dialogue for peace and stability on the peninsula.
Lee also announced a set of campaign pledges targeting the Marine Corps, including a plan to separate the Marine Corps from the Navy.
"I will significantly strengthen the Marine Corps' fighting power and independence and help maximize its ability to conduct landing operations, which is its intrinsic duty," he said.
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