North Koreans cheer missile launch in bizarre propaganda film
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President Yoon Suk Yeol gave his first media interview on Monday since taking office two weeks ago, in which he stated his policy towards his northern neighbour.
In a departure from his predecessor Moon Jae-in’s stance of peace and neutrality, the new President made clear his intention to get tougher on North Korea and strengthen the South’s military.
He told CNN: “I think the ball is in Chairman Kim’s court – it is his choice to start a dialogue with us.
He continued: “Just to temporarily escape North Korean provocation or conflict is not something that we should do.
“This kind of approach over the past five years has proven to be a failure.”
However, he added that he did not wish for the Communist country to “collapse”, adding: “What I want is shared and common prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
“I do not believe that enhancing [North Korea’s] nuclear capability is helpful and conducive to maintaining international peace.”
So far this year, North Korea has launched 15 missile tests, more than in the past two years combined.
Chairman Kim vowed in April to develop his country’s nuclear forces at the “highest possible” speed.
However, the East Asian nation is currently battling their first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak, as over 2.5 million people have to date tested positive for the virus.
Its population is under lockdown, yet the country has so far refused offers of the vaccine from Covax and South Korea, and is believed to have little testing facilities.
Instead, people are being advised to drink herbal tea, take ibuprofen and gargle salt water, reported the BBC.
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US President Joe Biden has offered vaccine support to North Korea, but said he had so far received “no response”.
When asked if he was open to meeting Kim Jong Un, the US President answered: “It would depend on whether he was sincere and whether he was serious.”
In 2019 former POTUS Donald Trump made history by being the first US President to set foot in the notoriously closed off nation.
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