South Korea national security council meets on North Korea

South Korea’s presidential Blue House opened a session of its national security council to discuss North Korea provocations, a day after President Moon Jae-in pledged to block potential attacks at all costs.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for a meeting of Seoul’s national security council to discuss North Korea and plan for U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Seoul. File Photo by Yonhap
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for a meeting of Seoul’s national security council to discuss North Korea and plan for U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Seoul. File Photo by Yonhap

The sessions have been taking place weekly. Thursday’s meeting was attended by South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa, Seoul’s unification minister and recently appointed Defense Minister Song Young-moo.

“We discussed preparations for U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Korea and signs of provocations from North Korea,” the council said, according to local news service Newsis. “We noted North Korea has engaged in no further provocations since Oct. 15, when North Korea launched a midrange ballistic missile. We also discussed countermeasures.”

Analyst had raised concerns North Korea may engage in a provocation during Trump’s visit, and some South Korean analysts say the national security council is disclosing the objectives of its meeting because a North Korea provocation may be on the horizon.

Seoul is also preparing for the annual U.S.-South Korea Security Consultative Meeting to discuss joint responses to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, News 1 reported.

The deployment of U.S. strategic military assets on a rotational basis will be discussed during working-level talks, according to the report.

Last year’s meeting was held in Washington, D.C., and this year U.S. Secretary of State James Mattis is scheduled to visit Seoul on Saturday for two days of meetings with Song and other officials.

Other topics of discussion include extended deterrence, the transfer of wartime operational control, or OPCON, currently under the U.S. Command, and international security.

Military cost sharing will not be discussed during the meeting, according to the report.

By Elizabeth Shim