North Korea vows to kill former South Korea President Park

Share

The South Korean president looks to reinforce bilateral ties and build rapport with his American counterpart, but it is unclear whether the two can find common ground on North Korea.

Despite previous reports on the alleged assassination plot blaming South Korean and US intelligence services, it appears that Wednesday's statement is the first to blame former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who is now awaiting trial on corruption charges, for being involved in the plot.

But Moon's administration has downplayed concerns that the talks will expose strains in the decades-old alliance between the countries.

North Korea's statement Wednesday came hours after new South Korean President Moon Jae-in left for the United States for meetings with President Donald Trump that are likely to be dominated by North Korea's growing nuclear threat. The mass evacuation occurred as US -allied forces retreated from North Korea.

The stakes are high. In May, it accused the USA and South Korean spy agencies of an unsuccessful assassination attempt on leader Kim Jong Un involving biochemical weapons.

If construction was scrapped, potential costs including compensation would be about 2.6 trillion won ($2.3 billion), South Korea's Office for Government Policy and Coordination said in the statement. But with China not stepping up, senior officials said, he will feel less constrained about confronting China on trade and other areas of dispute. Meanwhile, Washington's relationship with South Korea-a partnership that is essential to confronting the North's advances-has been faltering since December, when South Korea's former president Park Geun-hye was impeached.

Moon will begin his first overseas trip since sweeping to power in May on an emotional note, laying a wreath at a memorial of a 1950 Korean War battle that enabled the evacuation of about 90,000 civilians, including his own parents, to the South.

Experts had warned Park that "regime change will be difficult" in the North, it claimed, but she had examined and "directly signed" the alleged NIS "secret operational plan".

Pyongyang has repeatedly hinted that negotiations and dialogue would be possible on conditions that the US administration abandons its deep-seated hostilities against the DPRK. With two nuclear tests and over 30 ballistic missile tests in just the last 18 months, North Korea's weapons capabilities are becoming more sophisticated by the day.

The foreign minister drove home that point in her address at Monday's conference, which was organized by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

To freeze and dismantle Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal, Moon has proposed a dual-track approach of pressuring Pyongyang to cease nuclear programs while seeking engagement with it, which showed greater flexibility in dealing with its the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). "In this sense, my government's strategy mirrors that of maximum pressure and engagement of the United States".

Since all eyes will be on the upcoming summit between the two leaders that will possibly work together for the next five years, it is desirable that both countries take a long vision to navigate through the quagmire and encourage positive effort toward the ultimate goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and maintaining regional peace and prosperity.

"It's important to reaffirm the strength of the alliance and the need to demonstrate resolve in the face of the very threatening actions by the North", he said.

"In principle, I think they can get along as far as North Korea is concerned", Hyun-Wook Kim said.

Share