06/08/2017, 09.43
KOREA

Pyongyang launches new missiles. Moon blocks Thaad development

The missiles launched today are not subject to the UN ban. They could hit "big ships". Further deployment of the US anti-missile system blocked for ecological reasons. Anti-Thaad protests in Seongju. Seoul is willing to continue intercultural relations with NGOs and charitable and religious organizations, but Pyongyang rejects them.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - North Korea launched several cruise missiles that landed about 200km east of its coast. According to southern military authorities, the launch took place from Wonsan City and the rockets were "cruise missiles", designed to hit large ships. They point out that these weapons are not banned by the UN, which a week ago increased sanctions against Pyongyang after several launches of ballistic missiles linked to its nuclear program.

South Korean military spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said the latest launch showed the North "likely wanted to show off its ability to precisely target a large warship" after recent military drills involving US aircraft carriers and South Korean troops.

The United States is pushing for a military escalation in the region and to install an anti-missile defense system called Thaad (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense System), also criticized by China. The installation was approved by Moon's predecessor, Mrs. Park Geun-Hye, and strongly criticized by the Catholic Church.

Just yesterday, President Moon Jae-in blocked any future deployment of Thaad units until their environmental impact is studied. There are indeed many questions regarding pollution caused by the batteries used by the system. Until now, the US has been able to place two anti-missile towers in Seongju province, where hundreds of residents have staged strong protests against Thaad's pollution (see photo).

Today in the early afternoon, for the first time as president, Moon chairs the National Security Council to investigate possible measures against the continued launch of missiles by North Korea. Moon and his government are seeking a way to stop Pyongyang's nuclear programs, but at the same time leave the doors open to dialogue. In contrast to Park, Moon relaunched the collaboration of religious charitable NGOs and institutions, including Caritas, with North Korea for food, building materials, medicines, etc.

But three days ago, Pyongyang refused to open doors to civil and religious civil society organizations, citing Seoul's adherence to the new list of sanctions voted by the UN last week.

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