S. Korean parties criticize Pyongyang for missile test

SEOUL-- South Korean political parties condemned North Korea's missile firing Sunday morning just four days after South Korea's new liberal president was sworn in.

The ruling Democratic Party warned of a strong punishment if the regime continued its provocative behaviors that might hamper the new leader Moon Jae-in's engagement policy.

"If North Korea doesn't accept the united request by the international community and continues its provocations, it will inevitably face strong punishment," the party's spokesman Youn Kwan-suk said.

"We urge North Korea not to test the new Moon Jae-in government and the South Korea-U.S. alliance," he warned.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) called on the new government to face up to the reality of North Korea's threats, which have not changed even after the liberal president came to power in Seoul.

"President Moon should immediately ditch his illusion that the North will change its behavior and face North Korea's true nature," said Jeong June-guil, spokesman of the conservative party.

He urged the new president to make sure that there will be no dialogue unless Pyongyang gives up its nuclear and missile programs.

The minor centrist People's Party also voiced criticism and concern over Pyongyang's first missile test after the new president took office Wednesday.

"We are wondering why North Korea is doing this at this moment. North Korea should give up its illusion and cooperate for a peaceful Korean Peninsula," spokeswoman Ko Yeon-ho said. She also called on the new president to take up strong measures to denuclearize Pyongyang jointly with the United States and neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, the minor conservative Bareun Party said President Moon should acknowledge that the North's weapons threats are a constant, not a variable, that affect the security conditions of the peninsula.

"We strongly condemn North Korea's persistent and purposeful missile provocation," spokesman Oh Shin-hwan said. "Now the government should renounce its strategic ambiguity and show a clear stance."

As not even a single mistake should be made in the security issues, he continued, the Moon government should stop dragging its feet and reveal its clear position on the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system called THAAD in South Korea. Moon has maintained an ambiguous position toward the missile shield. He said during his presidential campaign the decision should be left to the next government.

The minor leftist Justice Party said its missile test is never helpful in creating a new atmosphere for dialogue pursued by the new Seoul government.

"North Korea seems to see how the new government would react. Keeping missile programs can never be an appropriate way for the North to survive," said Han Chang-min, the party's spokesman.

He added that the party hopes President Moon will seek ways to solve the problem through dialogue while keeping a strong military and diplomatic posture.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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