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Moon Jae-in

‘We do not desire the collapse of North Korea’: South Korean president Moon Jae-in strikes conciliatory tone at UN general Assembly

Moon did not directly criticise Trump – who two days earlier threatened from the same podium to “totally destroy” North Korea – but appealed for calm

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 September, 2017, 10:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 12:17am

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday he did not seek North Korea’s collapse, using an address to the United Nations to urge a scaling down of sky-high tensions.

Moon, a long-time dove who was elected in May, warned North Korea to end its string of nuclear and missile tests but also promised help if the communist neighbour changed course.

“We do not desire the collapse of North Korea. We will not seek reunification by absorption or artificial means,” Moon told the UN General Assembly.

We do not desire the collapse of North Korea. We will not seek reunification by absorption or artificial means
Moon Jae-in

“If North Korea makes a decision even now to stand on the right side of history, we are ready to assist North Korea together with the international community.”

Moon will later hold a three-way meeting with US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, two right-leaning leaders who have pressed to punish North Korea.

Moon did not directly criticise Trump – who two days earlier threatened from the same podium to “totally destroy” North Korea – but appealed for calm.

“The situation surrounding the North Korean nuclear issue needs to be managed stably so that tensions will not become overly intensified or accidental military clashes will not destroy peace,” Moon said.

He quoted late president Ronald Reagan, a hero for US conservatives, in saying: “Peace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”

A US official said that Trump would later Thursday make an announcement of further sanctions on North Korea.

Moon voiced support for sanctions, calling for all nations to implement the latest UN Security Council resolution that ban North Korea’s textile exports and end contracts for guest workers.