Seoul: Naval blockade against North Korea not discussed

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Dec. 1, 2017 at 10:26 AM
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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