Rival party leaders slam N. Korea over missile provocations

SEOUL– Ruling and opposition party leaders condemned North Korea for pushing ahead with another missile launch on Thursday at a time when the country is in mourning over a deadly Halloween crowd crush.

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile and two short-range ones toward the East Sea on Thursday, just a day after it launched a barrage of missiles, including one that flew across its de facto maritime border with the South for the first time since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

“If North Korea intrudes into our territorial waters and territory to plunder the Republic of Korea’s sovereignty, our military should punish them in a resolute manner,” Rep. Chung Jin-suk, leader of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), said in a Facebook post.

“If we overlook the conventional provocations North Korea is carrying out on the back of its nuclear arms, we cannot but endlessly be pushed around as its ransom,” he said.

Chung called on the military to ramp up its capacity to an “overwhelming” level to counter the North.

“It is certain that North Korea will continue minor provocations incessantly,” Chung said. “The military should take stern measures. Only when we are equipped with an overwhelming military capacity to deter the North can we prevent a war.”

Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung warned that North Korea’s brinkmanship would only accelerate its isolation from international society.

“The North’s brinkmanship will prompt it to fall off a cliff into international isolation,” Rep. Lee of the Democratic Party (DP) said in a Facebook post.

“Pushing the Korean Peninsula into a state of tension through consecutive military threats cannot resolve anything,” Lee said, claiming that the recent missile launches, including one that landed near South Korea’s territorial waters, “significantly threaten” the safety of the South Korean people.

The DP leader specifically slammed the North over the timing of its missile launches, noting how the country is still mourning over the Itaewon tragedy that has killed at least 156.

“I strongly condemn North Korea’s action that goes against humanity at a time when all South Koreans are in sorrow over a massive disaster.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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