South Korean President Park Geun-hye urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons at an annual meeting of the United Nations on Wednesday, calling its nuclear ambition the greatest threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
“The DPRK must make the decision to give up its nuclear weapons,” Park said at the annual meeting of the United Nations held in New York on Wednesday.
“The DPRK should follow in the footsteps of other countries that have abandoned their nuclear weapons in favor of reform and opening, and choose a different path that supports its economic development and improves the lives of its people,” the president said.
Park was a keynote speaker at the U.N. General Assembly. Her speech marked her debut at the U.N., where leaders from more than 140 countries gathered for a series of summits this week. Park arrived in New York on Monday after her state visit to Canada.
In a 20-minute speech delivered in Korean, President Park also praised the U.N.’s efforts in promoting international security, humanitarian rights and balanced economic developments.
She also reaffirmed South Korea’s full-fledged support for the U.N.’s global projects and agendas and called for international support to bring peace to the divided Korean Peninsula and the Asia-Pacific region. As parts of efforts to end inter-Korean division, she asked for global supports in building a peace park in the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas. The North has publicly rejected the project.
“Building a park that embodies respect for international norms and values, and doing so under U.N. auspices with all the parties to the war on board -- the two Koreas, the U.S. and China -– would serve the cause of easing tensions and peaceful reunification of the two Koreas,” she said.
“A unified Korea will be the starting point for a world without nuclear weapons, offer a fundamental solution to the North Korean human rights issue, and help unlock a stable and cooperative Northeast Asia.”
President Park also said wartime sexual violence against women “is a clear violation of human rights,” a remark directed at Japan over the issue of “comfort women.”
Korea and Japan have remained at odds on account of territorial and historical feuds. The issue of former sex slaves from Korea and other Asian countries conscripted during World War II has been one of the key sticking points in the frosty relations between the two countries.
In a separate meeting held before her return flight to Seoul, Park also said that Japanese leaders should face up to history and “take forward-looking measures to restore the honor of the comfort women while they are alive.”
Park returns to Seoul on Friday.
By Cho Chung-un and news reports