Envoy: SKorea’s Park open to dialogue with NKorea
SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea’s new president will not tolerate North Korean provocations but will continue to push for dialogue with Pyongyang, a special envoy to President-elect Park Geun-hye said just hours after the North’s top governing body declared it would continue atomic tests and rocket launches.
Park envoy Rhee In-je told The Associated Press and selected news outlets in Davos, Switzerland, that Park is strongly urging North Korea to refrain from conducting a nuclear test that could only worsen the tensions on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of a provocative long-range rocket launch in December.
“President-elect Park makes it clear that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and further provocations against the South will not be tolerated,” Rhee said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Thursday. “In particular, she strongly urges North Korea to refrain from further worsening the situation by conducting a third nuclear test.”
But Park, who takes office next month, wants to leave the window open to constructive dialogue with Pyongyang and will continue to provide food and medical aid as part of a “trust-building” policy for the two Koreas. “It is a gradual process based on mutual trust and respect, which can begin with keeping promises,” he said.
She also advocates returning to the six-nation disarmament negotiations, Rhee said. North Korea walked away from those talks in 2009 and has said future disarmament talks are out off the table.
On Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to condemn North Korea’s Dec. 12 rocket launch as a violation of bans against missile activity and expanded sanctions against the regime.
North Korea’s National Defense Commission responded Thursday by declaring that the regime will conduct its third nuclear test in defiance of U.N. punishment, and it made clear that its long-range rockets are designed to carry not only satellites but also warheads aimed at striking the United States.