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Park Urges N.K. to Follow Kazakhstan, Give up Nuclear Weapons

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on April 26 North Korea should follow in Kazakhstan's footsteps, give up its nuclear programs and rebuild its broken economy for the sake of better lives of its people.

   Park made the remark during a meeting with a group of foreign ambassadors after Kazakhstan's envoy explained how the Central Asian nation gave up a large stockpile of nuclear-capable missiles and pushed its economy forward, the presidential office said in a statement.

   Park said, "(She) hopes North Korea will learn from Kazakhstan's experiences and make a change in the right direction so that the standard of living of its people will improve," according to the statement.

   The other envoys included ambassadors from Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Bulgaria.

   Park expressed gratitude to the countries for condemning North Korea's third nuclear test in February and supporting South Korea's policy on the North.

   She also said that the international community should speak with a "consistent and united voice" to prod North Korea to make the right decision, saying the country is deepening its own isolation while claiming that it is a nuclear power and refusing to hold dialogue.

   Pakistan's ambassador expressed regret about North Korea's threats, appreciated Park's leadership and stressed the importance of the six-party talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear programs for the sake of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, the statement said.


S. Korean President Park Slams N. Korea as 'Too Unpredictable'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye on April 29 lashed out at North Korea, calling it "too unpredictable" over its unilateral suspension of a jointly run factory complex, saying there is nothing Pyongyang can achieve unless it becomes responsible about its promises.

   Park made the remark during a meeting with two U.S. lawmakers -- Rep. Steve Chabot, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa -- calling on the international community to consistently urge Pyongyang to make the right decision.

   The remark came after the last-remaining South Koreans have been pulling out of the complex in the North's border city of Kaesong under a government order. The South's government made the decision after North Korea turned down its offer to resolve the issue through dialogue.

   "If companies are to make investments and do business activities, agreements should be kept faithfully and (companies) should not be worried under any circumstances. But in a situation where (agreements) evaporate like bubbles overnight, no country, including South Korea, can make investments. This is too unpredictable a place," Park said, according to her spokeswoman Kim Haing.

   "How can this happen?," she said, speaking of scenes of South Koreans leaving Kaesong in cars loaded heavily with products, even on their roofs and hoods. "Unless North Korea shows it is a responsible member of the international community, I think it can't realize economic development or any other things," she said.

   Chabot said that he absolutely supports Park's stance on the Kaesong issue.

   During a meeting with senior secretaries earlier in the day, Park said the government should do whatever it can to provide substantial support for South Korean companies and workers suffering from Kaesong's suspension.

   Kaesong's operations came to a halt earlier this month as North Korea withdrew all of its 53,000 workers from the 123 South Korean factories in the zone. Pyongyang has also barred South Koreans, parts and supplies from entering the complex while allowing only those already there to return to the South.

   Kaesong's suspension was one of a string of steps that Pyongyang has taken in anger over American-involved annual military exercises in the South and a new U.N. sanctions resolution adopted after its third nuclear test in February.