S Korea's Park tells North to abandon nuclear weapons

2016-08-15 08:49
(Jung Yeon Je, AFP)

(Jung Yeon Je, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on Monday urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapon programme and defended the deployment of a US anti-missile system in the face of repeated "provocations" by Pyongyang.

Tensions have been running high on the divided Korean peninsula ever since the North carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, and are expected to spike again when the South launches an annual joint military exercise with the US later this month.

"I urge the North Korean government to immediately stop all provocations and threats targeting South Korea as well as the development of weapons of mass destruction," Park said.

Her comments came as both Koreas celebrated the anniversary of the liberation of the peninsula from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.

Self defence measure

Stressing that "true liberation" would involve reunification of the divided Korean peninsula, Park said that could only happen by removing the fear of nuclear weapons, missiles and war.

She also warned Pyongyang that all attempts to provoke and intimidate the South would be counter-productive.

"The more efforts (the North) makes, the deeper the country's isolation in the international community will be and the bigger its economic problems will be," she said in a televised Liberation Day speech.

The North's nuclear test in January resulted in a substantial strengthening of UN sanctions, but a defiant Pyongyang doubled down with a series of ballistic missile tests also banned by UN resolutions.

South Korea responded last month by announcing the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system to counter the North's missile threat.

The move was not only condemned by Pyongyang but also Beijing which views the deployment as a US move against its own national security interests and a threat to regional stability.

"The deployment of THAAD is an act of self defence," Park stressed in her speech, adding that her priority as president was to "protect the lives of our people from the reckless provocations of the North."

THAAD has also been the subject of domestic protests, particularly by those living in the rural South Korean county of Seongju where the first battery will be installed.

Residents say the system's powerful radar poses health and environmental hazards and argue that its presence will make them a key military target.

Some opposition lawmakers have actively sided with the residents and called for the deployment to be scrapped - a stance criticised by Park.

"I believe that such a matter ... should not be the subject of a political fight," she said.

"If there is any other way to protect our people and the country, one should propose an alternative," she added.

Read more on:    park geun-hye  |  south korea  |  north korea  |  nuclear programme

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.