Rival parties voice misgivings on probable new ICBM paraded by N. Korea
SEOUL, The leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties expressed misgivings Monday on what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) paraded by North Korea in a party event last week.
Celebrating the 75th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party on Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned that his country would keep bolstering its nuclear deterrent. The leader also made a conciliatory gesture toward South Korea by expressing his well-meaning wish for South Korea’s fast recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In a military parade following Kim’s speech, the country showed off a series of strategic weapons, including what was widely believed to be a new ICBM, a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile and a North Korean version of Russia’s Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile system.
Appearing to be longer than the North’s Hwasong-15 with an estimated range of about 8,000 miles, the new ICBM is believed to be capable of reaching the mainland U.S.
Rep. Lee Nak-yon, the chairman of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), zeroed in on the new North Korean ICBM during a meeting of his party’s top council earlier in the day.
“I express concerns over the reinforced weapons, including a new ICBM, which signified that the country has not given up its determination to develop weapons of mass destruction and can threaten peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world,” Lee noted.
But the ruling party leader partly appreciated Kim’s speech for the positive impact it can have on the inter-Korean relationship.
“Nevertheless, Chairman Kim Jong-un’s hope, expressed in his own voice, that the day will come for the two Koreas to join hands is a positive remark that could provide a breathing space for the South-North relationship,” Lee said.
The DP leader also urged North Korea to accept Seoul’s call for a joint investigation into the North’s fatal shooting of a South Korean fisheries official last month, a joint project to retrieve the victim’s body and the recovery of the countries’ severed military communication line.
Kim Chong-in, chairman of the main opposition People Power Party, condemned the North’s military parade as “a clear violation” of an inter-Korean military pact and a threat to South Korea.
“The recent military parade showed off a highly sophisticated ICBM, as well as a multiple rocket launcher that poses a direct threat to South Korea,” Kim said during a meeting of the party’s interim top council.
“This constitutes a clear violation of an (inter-Korean) military pact and a security threat. … The hazard from North Korea has grown even bigger.”
The opposition leader also went further to criticize President Moon Jae-in’s policy drive to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which is technically in a cease-fire.
“The president’s consistent call for the declaration of the war’s end constitutes an act that could doom South Korea rather than (formally) ending the war,” he said. “As long as North Korea’s denuclearization isn’t carried out, South Korea cannot become free of North Korean (military) threats.”
Source: Yonhap News Agency