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Rival lawmakers clash over government's response to N. Korea threats during parliament debate Updated: 2017-09-13 09:56:22 KST


Rival political parties dug in on their differences over the government's response to North Korea's threats and provocations.
In light of Pyongyang's strongest nuke test to date last week, there have been mounting calls from the opposition bloc to boost South Korea's nuclear deterrent.

"The government is against the redeployment of tactical weapons. Why is this?

"It violates the principle of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, and it's unclear whether South Korea could withstand he economic sanctions that would result. It could also trigger a nuclear domino effect in Northeast Asia."

The opposition also raised questions about the Moon administration taking the back seat on North Korea issues, and pointed out that trust between Seoul and Washington has somewhat eroded after the Moon government initially suspended the THAAD deployment pending an environmental assessment.
The government and the ruling party, however, were on the same page -- brushing off concerns of "Korea passing" -- a term being used to refer to Seoul being sidelined by regional powers when it comes to North Korea issues.

"I do not believe there will be 'Korea passing.' What's your view on this?"

"The South Korean authorities are maintaining various channels of communication with their U.S. counterparts and discussing the situation. The international community's measures on North Korea cannot achieve their desired effect without Seoul. Military options on the peninsula can also not happen without our consent."

The government also said the new UN Security Council resolution was drawn up after close coordination between South Korea and the international community -- which the opposition parties claimed was not enough.

"Sanctions directly against leader Kim Jung-un have been left out, and the curb on oil imports watered down. At this point, it seems the U.S. needs to put pressure on China. There also needs to be a change in Seoul's approach to dialogue."

"We maintain the stance that when it comes to provocations, we impose tougher sanctions and pressure. But at the end of the day we need dialogue. We are closely cooperating with the U.S on this matter."

The opposition has stressed the need for the Moon administration to review its North Korea policy, and beef up its own power.
To that, the ruling party and the government say that while they will review strong measures to put an end to the North's provocations, they will move forward on the basis of having the door open for dialogue.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
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