Yoon says N. Korea will learn its provocations only bring ‘greater pain’

December 18, 2023

President Yoon Suk Yeol said Tuesday that North Korea will learn its provocations only bring “greater pain,” as he referred to a series of missile launches by the regime this week, including its latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Yoon made the remark during a Cabinet meeting a day after North Korea fired what appeared to be a Hwasong-18 in its fifth test of an ICBM this year.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the launch showed “what option (North Korea) would take when Washington makes a wrong decision against it,” according to state media.

“North Korea launched a short-range missile and an ICBM yesterday and the day before for two consecutive days,” Yoon said during the meeting. “The North Korean regime will come to realize its provocations will only come back to them as greater pain.”

Yoon said South Korea, the United States and Japan have activated the real-time sharing of North Korean missile warning data and that the recent launch confirmed the system’s smooth operation.

He also said last week’s meeting of the South Korea-U.S. Nuclear Consultative Group brought the allies a step closer to establishing an integrated extended deterrence regime.

Extended deterrence refers to the U.S. commitment to defending its ally with all of its military capabilities, including nuclear weapons.

“A strong nuclear-based South Korea-U.S. alliance is becoming a reality,” he said, assuring the people the government would work to ensure they can live comfortably without concern about North Korea’s nuclear threat.

Yoon also relayed the results of his state visit to the Netherlands last week, saying 32 documents were signed between the two countries’ governments, institutions and businesses to advance cooperation in defense, economic security, supply chains and other areas.

In particular, he said the six memorandums of understanding signed in the semiconductor sector elevated the two countries’ partnership to a “semiconductor alliance.”

He further called attention to what he said were the growing complaints of small businesses and consumers about the dominance of large monopolistic and oligopolistic firms on online platforms.

“Small business owners are complaining that once they pay the platforms advertising fees and commission, there is nothing left,” he said.

“The autonomy and creativity of the private sector must be strictly guaranteed. But actions that restrict competition by abusing vested rights and monopoly power, and undermine consumers’ welfare, can never be tolerated,” he added.

Yoon vowed to take corrective measures and strictly enforce the law against actions that violate the rights and interests of consumers and unfairly discriminate against small business owners on online platforms.

He also cited growing supply chain risks amid disruptions to urea solution imports, saying relevant ministries should prepare thoroughly to quickly activate an early warning system for supply chain disruptions and establish an interagency risk management system under a relevant bill that passed through the National Assembly.

Moreover, Yoon said the recent cold weather could threaten the lives and safety of vulnerable groups, including senior citizens living alone and people in semi-basement apartments, and ordered relevant ministries to take preemptive steps to ensure their safety.