SOUTH KOREA’s President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday there would be no second war on the Korean Peninsula, after heightened tensions between North Korea and the United States over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
At a press conference to mark his first 100 days in office, Moon declared he would “prevent war at all cost.” The AFP quoted the president as saying: “All South Koreans have worked so hard together to rebuild the country from the ruins of the Korean War.”
South Korea is still technically at war with the North, despite a cessation of hostilities 64 years ago. “I want all South Koreans to believe with confidence there will be no war,” the president said.
Moon also called upon the North to accept his offer for military and family reunion talks, emphasising South Korea was not seeking a regime change nor pursuing a hostile policy towards its neighbour.
“We expect North Korea could positively respond to our proposals for military and Red Cross talks where the two Koreas could frankly discuss issues of mutual interests,” said an official from Seoul’s ministry responsible for reunification of the Koreas, as quoted by state news agency Yonhap.
In July, Seoul reached out to North Korea by proposing high level talks in an effort to halt hostile activities along their joint border. Reducing tension with Pyongyang was a key election promise of Moon, who took power in May.
He has also suggested talks along with the South Korean Red Cross about reuniting families that were separated during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953.
Last week, tensions between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un peaked after a heated exchange of threats.
After Trump said hostility from Pyongyang would be met with “fire and fury,” North Korean military officials said they were considering to launch four missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam. Trump then said America’s military was “locked and loaded” if provoked.
Yesterday a think tank warned the British government a “new Korean War is now a real possibility” because of Trump’s “volatile” and “impulsive” behaviour.
Kim has said he will put off making a decision on whether to launch the missiles towards Guam, wanting to watch the US administration’s actions a while longer.