Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Seoul, Washington have no plan to organize naval blockade of North Korea

Seoul, Washington have no plan to organize naval blockade of North Korea

South Korean President Moon told his US counterpart that while Pyongyang's latest missile launch reflects its most advanced technology so far, it still lacks critical technology that would actually make its nuclear and missile weapons development complete.

The North Korean state news agency announced the "historic cause of completing the state nuclear force" after completing the test. After it tested two ICBMs in July, Mr Moon said Pyongyang would cross a red line by creating a nuclear-tipped ICBM, and this could risk tougher moves from the U.S. including military action. "Both leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment to compelling North Korea to return to the path of denuclearization at any cost".

The blockade became a center of inquiry after Defense Minister Song Young-moo said Seoul would be compelled to take part in sanctions along with the United States, should Washington call for a blockade, The Korea Times reported. The missile technology tested remains unproven and that "the task we face is to completely prevent North Korea from futher advancing its nuclear technologies", Moon was quoted by a spokesperson in Yonhap.

The Hwasong-15 is longer than the Hwasong-14 by 2 metres (6.56 feet) and also thicker, particularly its second stage, which is 80 centimetres (2.62 feet) wider than Hwasong-14's second stage, Seoul's Defence Ministry said.

But, what could be a positive sign is the USA president's commitment to send a high-level delegation to PyeongChang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics set to kick off in just 70 days.

"For now if there are no sudden changes in situation or external factors, we feel there is a high chance North Korea will refrain from engaging in provocations for a while", said Lee Yoo-jin, deputy spokeswoman at the Unification Ministry.

North Korea is known to test fewer missiles in the fourth quarter of the year as troops are called to help with harvests, while the cold temperature is a strain on its fuel supplies. It launched an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-15, that state-controlled media described as the "most powerful ICBM" carrying a "super-large heavy warhead" to unprecedented heights of nearly 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles).

The latest provocation from the North prompted more insults from Trump, who referred to Kim as "Little Rocket Man" and a "sick puppy".

Also, officials in president Moon Jae-in's office said they have not discussed any military options with Washington against North Korea, including a naval blockade.

He, however, parried questions on Trump's tweet about more sanctions against North Korea. Addressing an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting after this week's missile launch, the United States warned North Korea's leadership it would be "utterly destroyed" if war were to break out.

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