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More provocative acts by North Korea expected

S. Korean security adviser warns of tension next month and 'accidental incidents'

SEOUL South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea next month, to coincide with the North Korean communist party's founding anniversary and China's Communist Party Congress.

During a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae In yesterday, national security adviser Chung Eui Yong said he expects Pyongyang to act around Oct 10 and 18 but gave no details.

His report also pointed to the risk that a military conflict could be sparked by "accidental incidents", said Mr Park Wan Ju, a lawmaker and head spokesman of South Korea's ruling Democratic Party.

He added: "The President said the United States speaks of military and diplomatic options, but South Korea cannot go through war again."

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

China, North Korea's main ally, has vowed to uphold United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea besides seeking to get stalled talks restarted with Pyongyang.

SHUT

Yesterday, China's commerce ministry said North Korean firms or joint ventures in China will be shut within 120 days of the latest sanctions passed on Sept 12.

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

The ministry had issued similar rules after a previous set of sanctions last month.

China will probably be extremely unhappy if Pyongyang tested a missile or carried out some other act during its Communist Party Congress, which is held every five years.

Mr Park said Mr Moon told the meeting that Washington and Seoul agreed that pressure needed to be applied to North Korea, with the door to talks still open.

Meanwhile, North Korea yesterday accused Mr Trump of exploiting American student Otto Warmbier's death.

It called Mr Trump an "old lunatic" for alleging that the student was tortured while in Pyongyang's custody.

In a statement issued by the official KCNA news agency, North Korea's foreign ministry accused the US of "luring and pushing" the 22-year-old student into breaking the country's laws. - REUTERS

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