South Korea President urges talks with DPRK

2013-04-12 01:39:55 GMT2013-04-12 09:39:55(Beijing Time)

South Korean President Park Geun-hye offered to open talks with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in an effort to calm down the heated tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"We must activate the trust process of Korean Peninsula," the president said at a dinner meeting with lawmakers of the National Assembly's committee in charge of foreign policy and unification affairs. "We will engage in talks." In the past she has maintained that no talks could take place unless DPRK gave up its nuclear program, which is also the U.S. line.

But sources close to the presidential office in Seoul are concerned that Thursday's "olive branch" was made without consulting with the U.S.

Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Seoul on Friday for talks with South Korean officials on the tensions.

Kerry has just wrapped up a foreign ministers' G-8 meeting in London at which they condemned DPRK's aggressive rhetoric and the development of its nuclear missile programs, saying that Pyongyang's recent actions threaten international security.

"G-8 foreign ministers condemned in the strongest possible terms the continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," the ministers said in a statement.

"Even if the situation is difficult, the 'process' of trust on Korean Peninsula must continue," said the South Korea president. Earlier she also encouraged the latest medical aid shipped to DPRK by a private South Korean organization. "The humanitarian aid to DPRK will continue," she said.

Also on Thursday, South Korean Minister of Unification held a press conference encouraging DPRK to come out and talk about what they want.

"It's gone too far. We all needed an outlet that could drop the level of tensions. Good move," said Kim Yong Hyun, Professor of DPRK Studies at Dongkuk University in Seoul.

The South's Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae urged Pyongyang to cool down, engage in dialogue and reverse its decision to suspend operations of a joint industrial park just north of their shared border.

"We strongly urge DPRK not to exacerbate the crisis on the Korean peninsula," Ryoo said.

Surveillance has shown that Pyongyang is ready to launch its untested mid-range Musudan missile anytime soon, putting armed forces in Seoul and Tokyo together with American troops in Northeast Asia on high alert.

South Korea's Defense Ministry confirmed Seoul has deployed three naval destroyers, an early warning surveillance aircraft and a land-based radar system.


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