In S Korea, Scholz calls on Pyongyang to halt missile tests

In S Korea, Scholz calls on Pyongyang to halt missile tests

May 22, 2023

Seoul [South Korea], May 22: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called on North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile tests as he visited South Korea on Sunday, speaking from the border that divides the peninsula.
"These ballistic tests must stop. [North Korea's] attempt to give itself a nuclear boost must stop. This is a threat to peace and security in the region," Scholz said.
The German chancellor travelled to South Korea on Sunday for a brief visit following the close of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
Regional tensions have risen significantly since Kim Jong Un took power in North Korea at the end of 2011, mainly due to missile tests and Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme. Four of the six nuclear tests by North Korea so far were carried out under Kim.
He also pressed ahead with the development of ballistic missiles. Such missiles are usually surface-to-surface and can also carry a nuclear warhead, depending on their design.
Scholz said his visit to the border was important and moving in view of Germany's own division between 1949 and 1990. "Germany is now reunited. That is a great fortune that we have." Visiting the Korean border showed how lucky this is, he said.
The Korean peninsula has been divided between the communist north and the democratic south since the Korean War ended with an armistice 70 years ago.
On their trip to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that runs along the demarcation line between North and South Korea, Scholz and his wife Britta Ernst visited the blue barracks, where the armistice agreement concluded in July 1953 was negotiated after the three-year war.
From the border building on the North Korean side, Scholz and Ernst were observed with binoculars.
In one of the blue barracks where the negotiating table stands exactly on the border line, Scholz entered
North Korean territory for a few minutes.
More than a million soldiers still face off on both sides of the 38th parallel, which divides the peninsula, since both Korean states are still in a state of war under international law. No peace treaty has ever been signed.
The US has 28,500 soldiers stationed in South Korea.
Some half of South Korea's nearly 52 million inhabitants live in the metropolitan region around Seoul, located close to the border.
Scholz was due to meet South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in the capital. The trip is the first bilateral visit by a German leader to the country in 30 years.
Source: Qatar Tribune