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South Koreans protest THAAD deployment, joint military drills with US

South Koreans protest THAAD deployment, joint military drills with US

We strongly urge the United States and other nuclear powers to honour their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and plead with North Korea to recommit to the treaty.

According to a statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi told Trump in a call between the two leaders Saturday all "relevant parties parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who met with Dunford during his visit, separately called for a peaceful solution on Monday. "They want to have direct talks with the United States", said Moon, who also holds the post of distinguished professor at Yonsei University in Seoul.

Calling the U.S. -South Korea military alliance "an alliance for peace", Moon said that he was "confident that the U.S. will respond calmly and responsibly to the current situation". "What I would like to see is Kim Jong Un to commit to ceasing the development of nuclear weapons and ceasing the testing of ballistic missiles", Dunford said.

In comments on Monday, President Moon insisted on dialogue to resolve differences with the North, "whatever ups and downs we face".

French President Emmanuel Macron called for the global community to work with North Korea to "resume the path of dialogue without conditions", following a call with Trump Saturday. China announced today that it would implement an import ban tomorrow on North Korean iron ore, lead and coal as part of the sanctions.

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This year both dates are especially significant as North Korea's military leaders have said they will complete their preparations in "the middle of the month" to launch ballistic missiles toward the Pacific island of Guam, an American territory and home to huge Air Force and Navy bases. Kim said he will give order for the missile test if the United States continues its "extremely unsafe actions" on the Korean Peninsula. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, told NBC News that Trump told him that "if thousands die, they're going to die over there".

North Korea is angry about new United Nations sanctions over its expanding nuclear weapons and missile program and the upcoming military drills between Washington and Seoul.

Kim's comments, however, with their conditional tone, seemed to hold out the possibility that friction could ease if the United States made some sort of gesture that Pyongyang considered a move to back away from previous "extremely risky reckless actions". Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!

Both the THAAD deployment and the joint annual military exercises with the United States have angered Pyongyang, which views the moves as a threat to North Korea's national security.

Meanwhile, US-South Korean joint military exercises are due to begin later this month.

"What matters is that if a second conflict (on the peninsula) erupts, that can not help but lead to a nuclear war", the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary. Around 25,000 USA service members took part past year, in exercises that focused on reacting to terrorist and chemical weapons scenarios. "We don't defend by ourselves and we don't defend ourselves".


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