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Seoul forum highlights North Korea issue amid South Korean hard-line shift

Frank Smith
Press TV, Seoul

The Seoul Defense Dialogue security forum addressed the North Korea issue Wednesday as leading military strategists grappled for a coherent policy toward Pyongyang. In South Korea, President Yoon Suk-yeol’s hardline involves strengthening the US alliance and bolstering military capabilities, including a potential preemptive strike.

President Yoon promised to normalize operations of the US anti-ballistic missile system THAAD, which was deployed in 2017, with new equipment brought in late Sunday night in an attempt to foil local protests.

Yoon has said he would like to deploy more THAAD missile batteries. At the forum, President Yoon’s hardline was echoed by Japan.

Several forum speakers stressed coordinated sanctions, which have so far failed, yet offered few alternatives.

Settling the issue of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and ending sanctions against Pyongyang would require bringing North Korea to the negotiating table. But so far the US and its allies South Korea and Japan have been unwilling to provide much of an incentive for Pyongyang to re-enter talks.

Also, on Wednesday the nuclear envoys of the US, South Korea and Japan met in Tokyo to coordinate strategies seeking to denuclearize North Korea. The US repeated its offer to meet unconditionally with North Korea, while US–led unilateral and UN Security Council sanctions remain in place.

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