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Park calls for building sufficient capabilities to accept N.K. defectors

2016/10/11 11:45

SEOUL, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday called on her government to build "sufficient" capabilities to accommodate North Korean defectors and go over a system to better support their resettlement here, saying they are a "test ground for reunification."

   During a Cabinet meeting, Park also stressed the need to help North Koreans get a better grasp of the link between the hefty costs of Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, and their poverty -- a move to further pressure the North into renouncing its nuclear ambitions.

Park has recently been sending to the North's ordinary citizens and rank-and-file troops a series of messages that highlights the reclusive regime's failure to take proper care of its people, while funneling its scarce resources into its costly and much-criticized military programs.

"While the defections by North Korean elites as well as regular citizens are on the rise, the motivations for their defections have become varied with some fleeing their country with a sense of despair about lack of their own prospects or for their children's future," she said.

President Park Geun-hye speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Oct. 11, 2016. (Yonhap) President Park Geun-hye speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Oct. 11, 2016. (Yonhap)

"(The inflow of) defectors are like a unification that has come earlier, and handling them is like a trial run for eventual reunification," she added.

Through various recent speeches, the chief executive has underscored that the steady influx of North Korean defectors to South Korea or elsewhere is a telltale sign of "cracks" in the North's dictatorial governing system, which she said has raised the possibility of unrest in the reclusive state.

sshluck@yna.co.kr

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