South Korean President warns of unpredictable security risks

South Korean President warns of unpredictable security risks
South Korean President Park Geun-hye

President Park Geun-hye urged the military to maintain its preparedness to deter North Korean provocations, stressing that the security situation on the Korean peninsula had entered an unpredictable phase.

"The security situation of the peninsula has become difficult to predict," Park said in a security meeting with top officials at Cheong Wa Dae. "At a time like this, our military should maintain a firm, thorough military readiness to deter (possible) provocations by North Korea."

The remark came amid escalating tension following Pyongyang's intensified threat against Seoul over anti-North leaflets and its planned joint military drills with Washington.

Propaganda leaflets critical of North Korea have long been a source of tension between the Koreas. The two sides traded fire in October after the North fired heavy machine guns, apparently aiming at balloons released by civic groups carrying leaflets denouncing the communist regime, $1 bills, radios and other items.

Park criticised the North for its continual threats, despite the South Korean government's offer of high-level talks. North Korea has remained silent on the offer to hold ministerial talks to discuss such bilateral issues.

The president pointed out North Korea's alleged cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment late last year

"Early this year, (the South Korean) government proposed a dialogue without conditions, but North Korea has continued its threats and made a series of demands," said Park. "Even in these circumstances, the interest of the global community in North Korea's human rights condition has grown."

Park also said that the security situation of the peninsula has become unpredictable following the hacking attack on Sony Pictures in the United States.

The US has imposed another set of sanctions on North Korea over its alleged hacking to protest the comedy film "The Interview," which depicts a plot to assassinate its leader Kim Jong-un. The FBI has concluded that North Korea was behind the attack. Pyongyang denied its involvement while describing the attack as "a righteous deed."

In the meeting which was attended by more than 230 officials from the military, the police and local governments, Park called for joint efforts to maintain national security from new types of threats as well as from natural disasters.

"As we have seen, indiscriminate terrorism and killing committed by IS, threats by terrorists, conflicts and disputes across the globe are growing at alarming rates," she said.

"Security officials should make a thorough examination of our security and safety systems, to cope with the changing situation."


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