President Lee Myung-bak on Saturday likened North Korea to a misbehaving child for ignoring the advice of other countries in regards to the launching of its long-range rocket.
In a question and answer session held on the lawn of the presidential residence Cheong Wa Dae to mark Children’s Day, the chief executive told children invited to the gathering that the global community had unanimously urged the North not to test its rocket.
“Unfortunately the North did not listen to such advice,” he said, adding that the country is like a misbehaving child.
He stressed that launching a rocket is an expensive venture and since many North Koreans lead difficult lives, the world community called on the communist country to use its money to take better care of children, senior citizens and the sick.
The president said that while Pyongyang had ignored calls in the past, if the world joins forces and urges the country not to engage in bad behavior, there may come a time when it will listen to such advice in the future.
The remarks come after Seoul and the rest of the international community roundly denounced the launch of the three stage rocket over the Yellow Sea on April 13. The rocket, which many countries view as a long range missile, blew up shortly after it blasted off from the Dongchang-ri launch site.
Besides talking to the 550 kids invited to the gathering, the president and first lady Kim Yoon-ok ate lunch with them, played games and engaged in arts and crafts activities such as making wooden tops. Lee, meanwhile, stressed at the gathering that children were the next leaders of the country and asked them to build lofty dreams about their future.
The first lady urged the kids to have optimistic thoughts and learn to love friends and neighbors.
The children, in addition, were treated to a martial arts performance by the Presidential Security Service and a military honor guard display along with a musical performance by local artists.
Kids invited to the event belonged to families who had a parent lose their life in the line of duty, and those from multi-cultural families and from orphanages around the country. Kids from rural communities and those living on small islands with little opportunity to visit the mainland were also invited to the annual event.
Children’s Day falls on May 5 and is a national holiday in South Korea.