S. Korean president doesn't rule out N. Korean provocations

Dec. 16, 2013 at 12:37 AM
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SEOUL, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- North Korea's execution of the powerful uncle of its leader Kim Jong Un shows it is capable of "reckless provocations," South Korea's president warned Monday.

Discussing last Thursday's execution of Jang Song Thaek by the Kim Jong Un regime for treason only days after he had been stripped of all his titles, South Korean President Park Geun-hye told senior secretaries that it remained unclear which way the isolated, Communist country was headed, Yonhap News Agency reported.

"When we look at a recent series of developments in North Korea, it is uncertain in which direction the North Korean situation will go," she said. "We are in a situation where we cannot rule out contingencies, such as reckless provocations."

Park said South Korea should be thoroughly prepared for all contingencies due to the "gravity and unpredictability of the current situation" in North Korea, which escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula this year by conducting nuclear and missile tests.

"The military and police should strengthen vigilance against various forms of provocations, especially" in front-line areas, including border islands in the Yellow Sea, she said.

Jang, who had been seen as the second-most powerful person in North Korea, was executed after a military tribunal sentenced him to death for attempting to overthrow the regime, North Korea's state news agency had said.

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