Park, party leaders urge NK to stop nuclear test
Bipartisan body to be launched for consultations
By Chung Min-uck
President-elect Park Geun-hye and heads of the ruling and opposition parties urged North Korea on Thursday not to conduct a third nuclear test.
“We urge North Korea to drop its nuclear test plan immediately,” Park said emerging from an emergency security meeting with the party leaders.
“In fact, the North has nothing to gain from conducting a nuclear test. They will only face stronger sanctions, not only from the members of the six-party talks, but also from the United Nations and international community,” she said.
In a three-way meeting, Park discussed the issue with the ruling Saenuri Party Chairman Hwang Woo-yea, and his main opposition Democratic United Party counterpart, Rep. Moon Hee-sang, at the National Assembly.
They also agreed to launch a bipartisan consultatitive body to discuss issues directly related to people’s livelihood and national security.
The rare meeting came following North Korea’s latest threat to conduct its third nuclear test. The meeting was set up by Park after she made the proposal a day earlier, saying Pyongyang’s nuclear threat was posing a serious challenge to national security.
“If the North makes a wrong choice this time, it will hinder the new government’s efforts to achieve a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula through the process of trust building,” Park said.
Dubbed “trustpolitik,” Park’s strategy on inter-Korean relations calls for Pyongyang to live up to former promises made during dialogue between the leaders of the two Koreas.
In a joint statement released after the meeting, Park and the leaders of rival parties urged the North to honor a previous denuclearization pledge. In 1991, the two Koreas signed an inter-Korean Denuclearization Declaration and Seoul has been urging Pyongyang to remain committed to it. The pact bans the South and North from pursuing nuclear tests, and the production, possession, deployment and use of nuclear weapons.
“In a difficult situation like this, it is important for politicians to show our people that we are working together on the nuclear issue,” Park said.
It was Park’s first meeting with the opposition leader since the December presidential election.
Since last month, North Korea has been threatening to carry out its third nuclear test in response to a new United Nations Security Council resolution last month that condemned Pyongyang’s Dec. 12 long-range rocket launch and toughened sanctions on the reclusive state.
Officials here say the North could conduct a test at any time.
Observers say that during the meeting Park may have also asked for opposition support in passing her pending government reorganization bill and approving a nominee for prime minister.