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(LEAD) President Moon vows strong 'punishment' against N. Korea

2017/09/18 11:08

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(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with President Moon's message; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Sept. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday his administration will, through strong pressure, leave North Korea with no choice but to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

He described the North's threats as the "most serious and urgent security issue in this region at the current moment" while delivering a video message for the opening of the 10th Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) in Seoul.

"North Korea should realize that dialogue and cooperation, not nukes and missiles, are the only means to protect its security and guarantee a bright future," the president said.

He stressed that South Korea will seek "powerful punishment," based on international cooperation, against the North for its provocative acts and continued development of the weapons.

"By doing so, we will make North Korea have no other choice but to give up its nuclear weapons and missiles," Moon said.

This file photo shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in. (Yonhap) This file photo shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in. (Yonhap)

In a keynote speech, meanwhile, former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also urged Pyongyang to abide by international rules.

"I strongly urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to become a responsible member of the international community by giving up its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities," he said.

He added, "No single nation has survived on its course against the unanimously united international community in the course of world history."

   The four-day Seoul meeting of the biennial PACC comes on the heels of North Korean provocations, including a sixth nuclear test and mid-range ballistic missile launches.

It has brought together army chiefs of staff and senior commanders from 29 nations, co-hosted by South Korea's Army Chief of Staff Gen. Kim Yong-woo and his American counterpart Mark A. Milley.

China has sent a three-star general to the session, the theme of which is "Unity of Effort: Building Civil-Military Partnerships in Land Force Response to Non-Traditional Security Threats."

  

This file photo provided by EPA on Sept. 14, 2015, shows a meeting of the Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference in Bali, Indonesia. (Yonhap) This file photo provided by EPA on Sept. 14, 2015, shows a meeting of the Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference in Bali, Indonesia. (Yonhap)

It marks the first visit by a high-level Chinese military official since South Korea and the United States agreed to deploy the advanced THAAD missile defense system on the peninsula last year.

The PACC was launched in 1999 to promote ties among leading army officers in the region on major security issues.

South Korea also hosts the Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS) at the same venue during the period. PAMS is an annual seminar for three- to four-star generals or equivalent that started in 1978.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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