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North Korea attempts to influence South's presidential elections

By
Elizabeth Shim
Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye leaves after a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court on March 30. Park’s arrest on Friday was covered in North Korea state media. Photo courtesy of Song Kyung-seok/Pool/EPA
Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye leaves after a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court on March 30. Park’s arrest on Friday was covered in North Korea state media. Photo courtesy of Song Kyung-seok/Pool/EPA

March 31 (UPI) -- North Korea may be eyeing an opportunity to influence the outcome of South Korea's presidential elections in the wake of former President Park Geun-hye's arrest and imprisonment.

In a message addressed to South Koreans, the Korean Social Democratic Party, a nominal political party in Pyongyang, issued a statement urging the South and the South's politicians to "defend peace" by opposing the United States, Yonhap news agency reported Friday.

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The statement, published with state-controlled news agency KCNA, called on Seoul's political parties, advocacy groups and key leaders to "overcome" the "nuclear war provocations of the U.S. imperialists."

"Each party and each class in South Korea must clearly recognize the main culprit of the destruction of peace is the United States, and they must rise together to engage in a battle to defend the peace," the party's statement read.

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The letter also urged South Korean politicians to become "pioneers and leaders" in the "struggle to prevent war."

"Politicians who ignore the dangers of war to the people can never receive the people's support," the statement read, using the Korean word for people denoting one ethnic identity.

The Chondoist Chongu Party, a political group affiliated with a religion practiced in both Koreas, also issued a statement urging politicians in South Korea to "protect the peace."

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Both parties also pressed South Koreans to launch a struggle against the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system THAAD, while leaving out any mention of how North Korea's weapons program has created instability and prompted THAAD deployment.

In a rare move for North Korea state media, Pyongyang's KCTV reported the arrest and imprisonment of Park.

"Park Geun-hye has been run out of office. A fired president, the daughter of the dictator has been ousted in controversy," North Korea stated Friday.

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