South Korea ‘will block war by all means’ – president

August 15, 2017 - 1:10 PM
South Korean President Moon Jae-In, delivers a speech during celebrations of the 72th anniversary of Korea's independence from Japanese colonial rule. (Reuters/Jeon Heon-Kyun/Pool)

SEOUL — South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday there will be no military action upon the Korean peninsula without Seoul’s consent and that the government would prevent war by all means.

“Military action on the Korean peninsula can only be decided by South Korea and no one else can decide to take military action without the consent of South Korea,” said Moon in televised comments.

The president was making an annual speech to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the nation’s liberation from Japanese military rule that began in 1910 and ended in 1945.

“The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means,” Moon said.

Previous presidents before Moon, who took office in May, have traditionally made North Korea the core of their speeches, mainly focusing on policy to engage Pyongyang.

Moon also urged the North to come to the dialogue table, saying sanctions against Pyongyang aim only draw it out to talks.

“I call upon the North Korean government: without international cooperation and co-existence economic development is impossible,” said Moon. “If you continue on this path there will only be international isolation and a dark future.”

Tension on the Korean peninsula has increased in recent months over concern that North Korea is close to achieving its goal of putting the mainland United States within range of a nuclear weapon.

North Korea and the United States exchanged threats of military action last week, with Pyongyang saying it will develop a plan to fire missiles to land in waters near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

Earlier on Tuesday, North Korea said it would keep fire-ready regarding its Guam plans while watching the actions of the United States for a while longer.