UPDATE : 2018.1.20 SAT 12:39
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Close consultation, alliance between S. Korea, US key to achieving NK denuclearization

Close consultation and a rock solid alliance between South Korea and the United States are the keys to efforts to terminate North Korea's nuclear ambitions, South Korea's foreign minister said Friday.

Speaking to a meeting organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, Yun Byung-se expressed concerns that the North's nuclear threat has reached a "new level of seriousness" that requires an unwavering alliance between the allies more than ever.

"The task before us is to cope with North Korean security threats and pave the way for durable peace and a business-friendly geopolitical environment. The compass that will help us navigate these turbulent waters is the ROK (South Korea)-U.S. alliance, much as it has done for the past six decades," Yun said.

He emphasized that the objective in North Korea policy is to achieve the "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization of the communist state and make its strategic calculus "fundamentally" change.

"The key in this endeavor is close consultations between Korea and the U.S. at every step. There is no space, no daylight between our two countries on North Korea," he assured.

Yun spoke to the American businesspeople amid growing speculation that the North may carry out an additional nuclear test or intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

The U.S. has sent the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, to waters off the divided peninsula, spawning speculations that Washington might be flirting with a pre-emptive strike against the recalcitrant regime.

The minister said that it is important to pursue diplomatic pressure and military deterrence at the same time in dealing with the North, citing South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises and the recent dispatch of the supercarrier-led strike group as a way to beef up the deterrence.

He also said that the upcoming visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to South Korea will "reaffirm our strong resolve to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula." (Yonhap)

Kim Jung-mi  edt@koreapost.com

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