Advertisement

South Korea President Park softens stance on North Korea

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, shown here last fall at the White House, said Tuesday peaceful unification is the key to ending the North Korea nuclear crisis. She was speaking on the anniversary of the March First Independence Movement, in observance of a 1919 Korean uprising against Japanese colonial rule. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, shown here last fall at the White House, said Tuesday peaceful unification is the key to ending the North Korea nuclear crisis. She was speaking on the anniversary of the March First Independence Movement, in observance of a 1919 Korean uprising against Japanese colonial rule. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, March 1 (UPI) -- Peaceful unification is the key to ending the North Korea nuclear crisis, South Korea President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday in a speech reaffirming her policy of trustpolitik on the peninsula.

Speaking on the anniversary of the March First Independence Movement, in observance of a 1919 Korean uprising against Japanese colonial rule, Park did not rule out talks with the North, South Korean news service Money Today reported.

Advertisement

"The government will not shut the door to dialogue, but pressures will continue if North Korea does not show a commitment to denuclearize," Park said. "There is an urgent need for peaceful unification."

The speech is a departure from earlier presentations. On Feb. 16, Park suggested the North could use a "regime change," and Seoul suspended operations at a joint factory park in North Korea, causing uproar among South Korean politicians.

Park's statements come at a time when the United Nations Security Council is set to pass the toughest sanctions yet against North Korea for a series of violations: a nuclear test in January that was followed by a rocket launch for "peaceful" purposes in February.

Advertisement

The vote was delayed on Monday at Russia's request.

China, a Security Council member, agreed with the United States last week to support a strong resolution against North Korea, a major move for Pyongyang's most important economic partner.

Yonhap reported Tuesday China is also working closely with South Korea on the sanctions resolution.

Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, was in Seoul to discuss the sanctions with Seoul's Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo.

Wu said talks with South Korea had contributed to Beijing's consensus on the sanctions.

Latest Headlines