South Korean president Moon Jae-in calls for North Korean Olympic participation

Kye Chun-yong

English edition of Asharq Al-Awsat - the world's premier pan-Arab daily.

South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, says he and President Donald Trump have "a common goal" - the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Thousands of protesters marched near the U.S. embassy in Seoul on Saturday, accusing President Donald Trump of "forcing" South Korea to deploy a controversial American missile defence system opposed by China.

The missile traveled a designated distance before hitting a target, the office said, without disclosing how far it flew.

Tensions spiked once again last week when United States student, Otto Warmbier, who was serving a hard labor sentence in North Korea for stealing a propaganda sign, died shortly after returning home in a coma.

"I hardly ever escape a day at the White House without the president asking me about North Korea and how it is that the United States is responding to that threat", Pompeo said.

However, South Korea recently said it was suspending the further deployment of the system until an environmental assessment was completed.

The South and nuclear-armed North Korea are separated by one of the world's most heavily armed borders and remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

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The South Korean government has already tested the Hyunmoo-2 missile four times, and it will be ready for use after two more trial-launches.

Six South Koreans, of whom three are Christian pastors, and ae Canadian also also imprisoned in North Korea. They said the new US policy of applying "maximum pressure" on the regime, can only be effective with the full cooperation and concurrence of Seoul's government.

North Korea has been stepping up its own weapons development in recent years, including multiple attempts to build an intercontinental ballistic missile.

According to the US official, the engine tested by the reclusive regime could be part of the smallest stage of an ICBM rocket engine.

USA officials have reported another test by the Pyongyang regime, the latest in the series of missile and ordnance test this year by the reclusive country, according to Reuters.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China opposed any action that violated UN Security Council resolutions and called for restraint from all parties.

Lee said the North "should stop developing missile and nuclear programmes and come out on to the path of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula".

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