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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 266 (June 13, 2013)

2013/06/13 10:45

*** INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS

President Park Calls on Pyongyang to Accept 'Trust Building' Process

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- In a Memorial Day speech delivered at the Seoul National Cemetery on June 6, South Korean President Park Geun-hye urged North Korea to accept her administration's "trust building" policy initiative that could open a new era of peace and hope on the peninsula.

The chief executive said actively participating in laying the foundation for inter-Korean trust is the road the North must take in the future. She pointed out that peace and unification on the Korean Peninsula is the wish of all 70 million Koreans and that as president she will do her utmost to meet such a goal.

She stressed at the gathering to honor all those who have made sacrifices to protect the country, and that Pyongyang must realize that its goal of simultaneously pushing forward economic construction while also furthering its nuclear ambitions will only isolate the country from the rest of the world.

The North Korean leader has repeatedly called for building up the economy and its nuclear weapons capability as the country's central policy objective, and demonstrated this resolve by conducting a nuclear test in February in the face of international pressure. The test is the fourth for the country and comes after it successfully launched a long-range rocket late last year.

"The North must accept that its provocations and threats are no longer effective (in bringing about concessions) and come to the realization that it has to make changes," she said, adding that it is time the North become a responsible member of the international community.

Park, who took office on Feb. 25 as South Korea's first female president, has made the building of trust the cornerstone of her policy drive to engage the communist country.

"North Korea must give up its policies that are fueling its isolation and backwardness and bravely accept the hand of reconciliation being offered by South Korea and the global community and strive for mutual prosperity," Park said. She added that it is her hope that Pyongyang will actively seek to open an era of happiness on the Korean Peninsula.

The president, meanwhile, said that despite various domestic and overseas challenges facing the country, her administration will do its utmost to usher in a period of happiness for the people.

She pledged that every effort will be made to strengthen the economy, create more good jobs and push forward economic democratization, which can ensure balanced growth.

"National unity is vital for generating economic growth and ensuring national security," Park said, and called on the nation to unite under a common goal.

The president then said that respecting all those that have served the country in the past is the obligation of all descendents and that the government will do its part to lend support to those who fought bravely for the nation.

Following the official Memorial Day gathering, Park visited the veterans hospital in Seoul and met with former soldiers who fought in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.

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N. Korea Declares No-sail Zone in Yellow Sea: Seoul Source

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has set a no-sail zone in the Yellow Sea off its central west coast apparently for an artillery exercise, a South Korean military source said on June 8.

"North Korea has designated the sailing ban area around the Seohan bay starting from today until early next week," the source said, noting that the North has previously taken similar actions when conducting artillery exercises.

In May, North Korea declared an off-limits area for ships in the sea off its east coast for four days prior to its test-firing of rockets of 300mm in caliber.

The latest North Korean move comes as the country is seeking government-level talks with South Korea in a dramatic about-face. For months until recently, the North made near-daily war threats while shunning official talks with Seoul.

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President Park Calls for Freedom for North Korean People

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on June 10 the people in North Korea should be allowed to enjoy freedom and prosperity just like their compatriots across the heavily armed border, as she marked the anniversary of a 1987 pro-democracy movement.

Park made the remark in a message commemorating the nationwide uprising that forced the then military-backed government to introduce a direct presidential election after successive authoritarian governments. South Korea has since become a full-fledged democracy.

"From now on, we have to realize a more mature democracy and spread its values further," Park said in the message read by her home affairs minister Yoo Jeong-bok in a ceremony. "What is more pressing than anything else, we have to close the schisms in our society and make national unity blossom."

   Park pledged to do her best to ensure no one is discriminated against because of their regional and academic backgrounds and to push for her "economic democratization" initiative without wavering. The campaign calls mainly for uprooting unfair business practices by big companies.

"Compatriots in North Korea should also enjoy freedom and prosperity together with us," Park said. "I will do my best to open up an era of happiness on the Korean Peninsula by laying the groundwork for peaceful unification in a step-by-step manner."

   Park also said South Korea will take the lead in making the world a happier place to live by taking active role in resolving such global issues as terrorism, poverty and nuclear safety, and spreading the values of freedom and human rights beyond the Korean Peninsula.

(END)