Moon says two Koreas, US should continue dialogue instead of difficulties

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South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Friday that the two Koreas and the United States should make efforts to continue dialogue, not create difficulties.

North Korea’s claim on Friday that it had launched a new type of tactical short-range ballistic missile highlighted military advances by the nuclear-armed state and propelled it to the top of new US President Joe Biden’s foreign policy agenda.

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Moon Jae-in called the missile test “concerning,” saying Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington should not create hurdles for talks.

“Now is the time for the South, the North and the United States to make efforts to continue dialogue. It is never desirable to create difficulties for dialogue,” he told a ceremony commemorating soldiers who fought in clashes with the North in 2002 and 2010.

The United States condemned Thursday’s launches, which came hours before Biden held his first White House press conference since taking office in January.

When asked if he agreed that North Korea was the top foreign policy issue he faced, Biden replied: “Yes.”

The launches, which were North Korea’s first ballistic missile tests in nearly a year, underscored steady progress in its weapons program since denuclearization talks with the United States floundered under former President Donald Trump.

Biden said the United States remained open to diplomacy with North Korea despite its missile tests, but warned there would be responses if Pyongyang escalates matters.

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