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Monday, October 2, 2023

Korean ambassador to U.S. warns North will pay if provocations continue

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Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Hyun-dong speaks with the press in Washington on Wednesday. [YONHAP]
Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Hyun-dong speaks with the press in Washington on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Hyun-dong warned that North Korea will pay a price if it continues its military provocations such as another launch of a reconnaissance satellite.

“The so-called military reconnaissance satellite that North Korea launched yesterday failed due to a technical defect, but regardless of whether the launch was successful, it is a clear illegal action that directly violates UN Security Council resolutions,” Cho said in a meeting with the press in Washington on Wednesday.

“South Korea and the United States are thoroughly preparing for all possibilities,” he added. “North Korea’s provocations only deepen its isolation from the international community and further strengthen the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance,” referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

North Korea’s first reconnaissance satellite crashed into the sea on Wednesday after the space launch vehicle’s second-stage separation failed, according to Pyongyang’s state media.

The regime warned on Thursday that it would try to launch its spy satellite into orbit again in the near future.

The Nuclear Consultative Group, a consultation group between the U.S. and South Korean governments to discuss American extended deterrence in the Korean Peninsula, as well as nuclear and strategic planning, is expected to convene in the near future.

The group was established in April this year during President Yoon Suk Yeol’s state visit to Washington, specifically to address the military provocations and security threats from North Korea.

There have been reports recently that the group could also include Japan.

The state visit in April was “an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the Korea-U.S. alliance,” said Cho.

“Organized in light of the 70th anniversary of the Korea-U.S. alliance, the visit presented a blueprint for our alliance going forward,” he said. “And reminded the two nations of the spirit of our alliance rooted in common values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”

Relaying further positive assessments on the bilateral summit meeting and Yoon’s speech at the U.S. Congress, the first by a Korean president in 10 years, Cho said that the state visit was particularly successful because “President Yoon clearly played the role as Korea’s No. 1 salesman while raising the American public’s interest on Korea.”

U.S. President Joe Biden invited Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Washington, during their meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 7 Summit in Hiroshima last month.

“The three countries will continue to discuss the agenda together,” Cho said.

Cho also spoke on the American debt ceiling deal, recently passed by the House of Representatives.

“It’s good news in that it has not only cleared some uncertainties in the U.S. market but also the global economy,” Cho said. “Once the bill is passed at the Congress and President Biden signs it, it’s expected generally that the next bills on National Defense Authorization Act, Appropriation bills and China-related bills will be discussed in earnest.”

The National Defense Authorization Act determines annually whether the size of U.S. Forces Korea, numbering around 28,500, will be maintained.

BY KIM HYOUNG-GU, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]