Criticism of launch is bipartisan

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Criticism of launch is bipartisan

Political leaders across the ideological spectrum condemned North Korea’s medium range missile launch Sunday morning, displaying a rare bipartisan spirit.

Hours after the North’s firing of a missile estimated to have flown about 500 kilometers (311 miles) before falling into the East Sea, ruling and opposition parties issued statements condemning Pyongyang’s provocation, calling the act “foolish.”

“We urge the North to put an immediate halt to its foolish act,” said Ki Dong-min, spokesman of the Democratic Party (DP), the largest party in the National Assembly with 121 lawmakers. “If the North wants dialogue, then it should ask for it. Resorting to military action will only lead to serious military confrontation.”

The Saenuri Party, which adopts a new name, the Liberty Korea Party, today, called the launch an act that “endangers the security of the Republic of Korea and its people.” Saenuri spokesman Kim Myung-yeon asked for close policy coordination in the aftermath of the missile launch between the military and the administration of Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is acting president.

The People’s Party called the missile launch “playing with fire” that would only threaten the survival of the Kim Jong-un regime by creating instability in Northeast Asia’s geopolitics. It called for a strong alliance with Washington as well as cooperation in North Korea policy with Beijing and Tokyo in exerting pressure on Pyongyang to stop such provocations.

Presidential hopefuls also criticized the regime regardless of their differing stances on how to deal with the Communist state.

Moon Jae-in of the DP, who leads in most polls for this year’s presidential election but is criticized by security-conscious conservatives as being soft on Pyongyang, called the Sunday missile launch “foolish” and “reckless.”

“I strongly condemn the North’s latest provocation that came despite repeated warnings (from the international community) against it,” said the frontrunner in a Facebook posting. He warned the if the North continued its provocations, its regime’s survival will be at risk, saying “no one will be able to predict its future.”

Referring to the missile launch, Rep. Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Party, a presidential hopeful, said presidential candidates should end disagreements over the deployment of the U.S.-operated missile defense system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad, which has drawn sharp protest from Beijing and is opposed by liberals in the country.

“Political parties across the aisle and presidential aspirants should put an end to this needless controversy over the Thaad deployment and express their full support for the system.” said the long-time Thaad supporter in a statement Sunday.

Rep. Kim Young-woo, a fellow Bareun lawmaker who chairs the National Assembly’s defense committee, agreed with Yoo on Thaad. “The threat from the North is real. We are not in a situation in which we can just stand idly and continue discussing for days the merits of the Thaad system. We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. on Thaad,” Kim told the Korea JoongAng Daily.

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