North Korea denounces South Korea's Park Geun-hye's call for defections

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Oct. 3, 2016 at 9:31 AM
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SEOUL, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- North Korea denounced Park Geun-hye after the South Korean president urged North Koreans to defect during a national ceremony on Saturday.

Pyongyang's Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun condemned Park on Monday and accused the South Korean leader of inciting conflict.

"Appearing before an armed forces day ceremony with a sullen face [Park] cast aside all decency in order to issue an outpouring of malice and a call for intra-Korean conflict that is in [her] bones," the statement read.

On Saturday at an event commemorating South Korea's annual Armed Forces Day, Park had urged North Koreans to leave their society for the "bosom of freedom" in the South.

"We are well aware of the gruesome realities you face," Park said, according to Al Jazeera. "The universal values of freedom, democracy, human rights and welfare are the precious rights you should also enjoy."

On Monday the North Korean newspaper stated Park had engaged in "blasphemy" when she said North Korea instills a politics of fear and engaged in human rights abuses. Pyongyang also said the call to defect was a "provocation."

"The daughter [of President Park Chung Hee] is taking it one step further by manically attacking our ideas and institutions, and saying our government is anti-humane and rules by terror," the North's statement read.

Park Chung Hee was the third South Korean president who also ruled as a military dictator for two decades prior to his assassination in 1979.

In a separate statement on Monday, the North Korean newspaper defended the country's nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang stated the weapons are to guarantee the "right to survival" of the country, and the "restoration of the people."

"We are not developing weapons to harm humanity like the United States," the statement read, which also condemned Washington of "nuclear blackmail."

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