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PM vows to ramp up pressure on N. Korea

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said Wednesday that South Korea will ramp up sanctions and pressure on North Korea to force the regime to return to the negotiating table, saying Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs pose threats not only to the region, but to the world.

Speaking at a meeting of Army chiefs from 29 Indo-Pacific nations, Lee lamented that North Korea carried out 14 missile launches and its sixth nuclear test in four months since the new administration of President Moon Jae-in took office in May.

"North Korea's nuclear and missile threats have become threats not only to the Korean Peninsula, but also to the Asia-Pacific region and to the world," Lee said in a welcoming lunch for Army chiefs attending the 10th Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (Yonhap)
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (Yonhap)

"The government of the Republic of Korea will take stern and effective countermeasures," he said. "While strengthening sanctions and pressure to get the North to step forward onto a path of dialogue, we will maximize deterrence against the North to safeguard peace on the Korean Peninsula."

Lee also said that the South will also make diversified efforts for a peaceful resolution of the problem, just as President Moon has asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to broker talks with the communist nation.

The biennial conference has brought together army chiefs of staff and senior commanders from 29 Indo-Asia-Pacific countries under the theme "Unity of Effort: Building Civil-Military Partnerships in Land Force Response to Non-Traditional Security Threats." (Yonhap)