South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea in mid-October

By Christine Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea next month, to coincide with the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean communist party and China’s all-important Communist Party Congress.

During a meeting with President Moon Jae-in on Thursday, national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said he expected Pyongyang to act around Oct. 10 and 18, but gave no details.

The South Korean security adviser’s report also pointed to the risk that a military conflict could by sparked by “accidental incidents,” said Park Wan-ju, a lawmaker and head spokesman of the ruling Democratic Party.

“The president said the United States speaks of military and diplomatic options, but South Korea can’t go through war again,” said Park.

Tension on the Korean peninsula has risen in recent weeks as North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump exchanged war-like threats and insults over the North’s nuclear and missile development program.

The North has accused Trump of declaring war after he warned Kim’s regime would not last if he persisted in threatening the United States and its allies, having earlier warned North Korea would be totally destroyed in such an event.

Asked if China had a plan to respond to an emergency in North Korea, such as securing nuclear and missile sites, Chinese defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said, “Military means cannot become an option,” and urged talks to resolve the issue.”The Chinese military will make all necessary preparations to protect the country’s sovereignty and security and regional peace and stability,” he added, without elaborating.

China has vowed to uphold U.N. sanctions against North Korea, besides seeking to get stalled talks restarted with Pyongyang.

On Thursday, China’s commerce ministry said North Korean firms or joint ventures in China would be shut within 120 days of the latest United Nations Security Council sanctions passed on Sept. 12.

Overseas Chinese joint ventures with North Korean entities or individuals will also be closed, the ministry said in a statement on its website, without providing a timeframe.

The ministry had issued similar rules after a previous set of U.N. sanctions in August.

Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a program aimed at eventually targeting the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war…

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