S. Korea urges restraint after North's missile test

Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, left, meets with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, center, during a ministerial luncheon on the sidelines of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo attends the second plenary session of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
Japanese Minister of Defense Takeshi Iwaya, right, and South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo shake hands ahead of the second plenary session of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo speaks during the second plenary session of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya speaks during the second plenary session of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo speaks during the second plenary session of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya attends the second plenary session of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, right, and South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo attend the second plenary session of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)

SINGAPORE — South Korea's Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo on Saturday fended off calls to step up pressure on North Korea after it test-fired missiles last month.

Jeong told an annual security conference in Singapore that the tests were being investigated and a conclusion is within reach.

"There are discussions whether or not it is a short-range ballistic missile. There is a perspective that it is a Russian Iskander missile, or it is a new tactical ballistic missile," he said.

"There are data that we can verify, and we are working off those data to make sure we have a verification."

Jeong was responding to a question on whether the tests were a violation of a military agreement between South and North Korea last September to halt acts of aggression against each other.

He said the North was "in fact acting within the boundaries" of the agreement and tensions between their militaries "have been lowered to a significant extent."

"So currently the actions done by the North Korean regime have the intent to carry out the peace process through dialogue and talks. And I believe that's the hidden intent behind the lines in terms of their missile launches."

Jeong called on the international community to "assure North Korea that the decision to denuclearize is indeed the right decision."

He said that South Korea sees humanitarian aid and the lowering of military tensions as ways "to lead North Korea into conversation and away from ... the ways of the past."

North Korea itself has defended the launches, saying it was exercising its right to self-defense.

The U.S. and Japan say the short-range ballistic missile tests on May 4 and 9 were a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The tests ended a pause in launches that began in late 2017, and came amid deadlocked negotiations to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons.

Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, who spoke at the same session on Korean security, stressed that a strict implementation of sanctions against North Korea was necessary.

He specifically directed his comments at South Korea, China and Russia.

"We need to enhance surveillance on a global scale while strengthening effort locally to ensure the full implementation of sanctions," Iwaya said.

Earlier Saturday, U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told the Shangri-La Dialogue conference that North Korea "remains an extraordinary threat" and has "neared a point where it could credibly strike regional allies, U.S. territory, and our forward-deployed forces."

You may also interested in

Indonesian gets 6 years for smuggling migrants to...

Mar 16, 2017

An Indonesian court has sentenced a people-smuggling kingpin to six years in jail for organizing a...

Muslim protesters march against Jakarta's...

Mar 31, 2017

Undeterred by the arrest of hard-line protest leaders, thousands of Muslims marched in Indonesia's...

Suspected suicide bombs in Jakarta kills 3...

May 24, 2017

Two suspected suicide bombings near a bus terminal in Indonesia's capital Wednesday night killed...

Indonesia's Parliament speaker named corruption...

Jul 18, 2017

Indonesia's anti-graft agency has named the speaker of Parliament as a suspect in a corruption...

Indonesian leader: Shoot drug traffickers who...

Jul 23, 2017

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo says police should shoot drug traffickers who resist...

News

Sign up now!