South Korea’s president has warned that North Korea faces “regime collapse” if it does not abandon its nuclear programme.
Park Geun-hye made the remarks during a speech in parliament while defending her decision to shut down a jointly run factory park in North Korea amid a heightened standoff over North Korea’s recent nuclear test and rocket launch.
Park said South Korea needed to take unspecified “stronger and more effective” measures to make North Korea realise its nuclear ambitions would only result in speeding up of its “regime collapse.”
It is unusual for a top South Korean official to touch upon such a government collapse in North Korea because of worries about worsening ties between the rivals.
Park’s comments are certain to anger North Korea as they were made as the country marks the birthday of late dictator Kim Jong-il, the father of current leader Kim Jong-un.
Park repeated her government’s argument that much of the money South Korea paid to North Korean workers at Kaesong had flowed to the ruling Workers’ party leadership in charge of weapons programmes.
Seoul officials said North Korea was able to divert the money because the workers in Kaesong were not paid directly. Instead US dollars were paid to the North Korean government, which siphoned off most of the money and paid only as much as it wanted to the employees in North Korean currency and store vouchers, according to a statement from Seoul’s’ unification ministry.
The ministry did not detail how it arrived at that conclusion. North Korea has previously dismissed such views.
Earlier in February North Korea ignored repeated international warnings and launched what it said was an Earth observation satellite aboard a rocket. Washington, Seoul and others view the launch as a prohibited test of missile technology and are pushing for stronger sanctions against the regime.
The launch came after the North in January carried out its fourth nuclear test, aggravating already-strained ties between the two Koreas.
Last week Pyongyang expelled all South Korean workers from the jointly run factory park in the North and put the area under military control, in retaliation for Seoul’s decision to suspend operations there.
Source: The Guardian