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Seoul: Naval blockade against North Korea not discussed

By
Elizabeth Shim
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump, seen from Moon's office and a file photo, respectively, spoke for an hour Thursday evening. File Photo by Yonhap
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump, seen from Moon's office and a file photo, respectively, spoke for an hour Thursday evening. File Photo by Yonhap

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- South Korea's presidential office said there are no plans to put in place a naval blockade that would prevent ships from leaving or entering North Korea.

"The issue of a naval blockade was never discussed during their phone conversation," a spokesman for President Moon Jae-in told reporters Friday, referring to a lengthy phone call between Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump.

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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.

Trump and Moon spoke for about an hour Thursday regarding South Korea's defense capabilities against North Korea, the Korea Economic Daily reported.

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Song had sparked concern during a recent hearing, when he said he would "actively and positively consider" participating in a naval blockade against North Korea.

"I think it would be the right thing to do if a request to participate in a blockade comes in," Song said, referring to the possibility of sanctions.

Song also said the United States has yet to request any participation in a naval blockade.

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During their hour-long phone call on Thursday, Moon said he has reservations about North Korea's claims of a complete mastery of intercontinental ballistic missile technology.

Moon told Trump evidence is lacking North Korea has achieved atmospheric re-entry or warhead miniaturization, a spokesman said.

A naval blockade against North Korea may be tough to implement in the region.

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Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported Friday Tokyo's participation in the blockade could be a violation of the country's constitution.

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