“While it is a must to strongly retaliate against any provocation by the North, what is more important is to leave no room for North Korea to consider any provocation through robust diplomatic and military deterrence,” Park said.
The meeting presided over by the president and attended by National Security Office chief Kim Jang-soo, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, and National Intelligence Service Director Nam Jae-joon, was the first of its kind since Park took office. First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun also participated on behalf of Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, who is currently visiting Washington.
|President Park Geun-hye speaks while National Security Office chief Kim Jang-soo looks on at a meeting of top foreign affairs and security officials at Cheong Wa Dae, Tuesday. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)|
The meeting was called urgently the day before, leading to the cancellation of the previously scheduled policy briefing, reflecting the urgency on the security front against North Korea’s bolder threats.
Following the long-range rocket launch last year, North Korea has been upping its brinkmanship consistently, by conducting its third nuclear test, declaring the annulment of the ceasefire treaty, announcing “a state of war,” and threatening to close down the Gaeseong Industrial Complex which is the last-remaining joint project of the two Koreas.
At the meeting, Park viewed the current security situation as “extremely serious” and emphasized that the citizens can focus on their daily lives and the new government should implement its policy visions only based on solid security, presidential spokesman Yoon Chang-jung said.
The participants also shared an “in-depth discussion” over recent developments in the North, the situation at Gaeseong and reaction of the international community, as well as military readiness, diplomatic efforts and the security of citizens’ safety, Yoon added, without elaborating further.
Such security-related meetings, including the National Security Council, will be called frequently depending on the development of the situation, Park was quoted as saying.
Park had sent a stepped-up warning against Pyongyang’s escalating threats on Monday by ordering the military to strongly respond to any provocation at an early stage without any political consideration.
By Lee Joo-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org)