North Korea's reign of terror, seen in the recent purge of a defiant defense chief, has stoked security jitters in South Korea, President Park Geun-hye said Friday.
"As North Korea's provocative behavior and the reign of extreme terror became known, more South Koreans are astonished while fears are growing on what could happen in the future among them," Park said in a speech at a ceremony marking Teacher's Day. "Teachers' history and education philosophy as well as their roles are very important at this time of jitters in order for our society to walk in the right direction."
Security concerns were heightened after the South Korean spy agency said North Korea executed Hyon Yong-chol, the country's equivalence of a defense minister, for being defiant to leader Kim Jong-un.
The communist country had also launched two successive days of live-fire drills at the inter-Korean maritime border in the Yellow Sea, escalating tension in the region.
"Nurturing inside our society firm patriotism which is equipped with a belief in liberal democracy and will to safeguard the country is directly connected to the fate of the country," the president noted.
There could be attempts to throw our society into disorder from in- and outside the nation, Park said, stressing that teachers are urged to play a central role in helping buttress democracy and patriotism.
Touching on the local education environment, the president also called for unwavering respect and courtesy for teachers, saying that "if respect and courtesy for teachers are lost, all the damage will be inflicted on our society." (Yonhap)