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South Korea's Moon says 'high possibility' of conflict with North

South Korea's Moon says 'high possibility' of conflict with North

On Sunday, North Korea launched what appeared to be its longest-range ballistic missile yet, saying it was capable of carrying a "heavy nuclear warhead" in a test aimed at bringing the U.S. mainland within reach.

Pottinger later told reporters that the countries reaffirmed "desires to get the two leaders together quickly" following a telephone conversation last week that Trump used to invite Moon to the White House.

The Foreign Ministry on Monday briefed envoys of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member-states on the present situation.

Yoon said Chung and Pottinger in their meeting reaffirmed that Seoul and Washington share a common goal in the "complete discarding" of North Korean nuclear weapons and will pursue "all methods, including sanctions and dialogue" to reach the goal.

Despite the push for a tougher stance, Haley held out the prospect of direct talks with North Korea, saying "we are willing to talk but not until we see a total stop of the nuclear process and of any test there".

Pottinger's visit came two days after North Korea launched a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, considered more powerful than any other missile North Korea has deployed.

North Korean diplomat Ju Yong-choi told the UN Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday, "The DPRK will bolster its self-defence capabilities as long as the United States continues its hostile policies towards the DPRK and imposes nuclear threats and makes blackmail". The North ignored worldwide condemnation of its missile test, which demonstrated some disturbing advances in long-range missile technology, and insisted it would "conduct ICBM tests anytime and anywhere, in accordance with the decisions made by our central leadership".

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Moon has said that he would meet with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, if the circumstances were right.

The comments came hours after the South, which hosts 28,500 USA troops, said it wanted to reopen a channel of dialogue with North Korea as Moon seeks a two-track policy, involving sanctions and dialogue, to try to rein in its neighbor.

"We have worked well with China", Haley said. Pyongyang hailed as a success the launch that was aimed at testing its missiles' ability to carry a heavy warhead, a measure it says it needs to counter U.S. hostility.

"South Korea is our most important neighbor, with which we share strategic interests", Abe stressed, adding that he looked forward to holding a summit with the new president at an early date. The previous conservative government refused to engage with Pyongyang until it abandoned its nuclear program. The threat from Pyongyang presents US President Donald Trump with one of his greatest security challenges. Evidence has been found implicating hackers linked to North Korea in the attack.

"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil, in fact - closer to Russia than to Japan - the President can not imagine that Russia is pleased", the statement said. Clashes between residents and police over the deployment of an advanced USA anti-missile system highlight a divisive issue ahead of South Korea's presidential election on May 9.


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