President Park Geun-hye on Thursday renewed her resolve to make North Korea opt for denuclearization through sanctions and pressure and ordering her military to maintain a robust deterrence against a provocative North Korea.
During her luncheon with military leaders, Park also pointed to Pyongyang's continued provocations, including the launching of two intermediate-range ballistic missiles this week, as evidence that it would be unlikely that there will be a turnaround in the ongoing standoff anytime soon.
President Park Geun-hye speaks during a luncheon with military leaders at her office Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday. (Yonhap)
"We will never condone North Korea's provocations that threaten the stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula, and in close cooperation with the international community we will continue to apply strong sanctions and pressure until the North takes a path of change," she told a gathering of some 80 commanders during the luncheon at her office Cheong Wa Dae.
The luncheon followed a meeting of top officers from all armed services at the Ministry of National Defense. Park also raised the possibility of the North undertaking yet another provocation when it starts feeling the actual impact of tough sanctions that the U.N. Security Council imposed in March in response to its nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch a month later.
"But if we, frightened by the North, continue the past pattern of offering rewards after provocations, the goal of the North's denuclearization would become even more elusive, and we would not be able to anticipate any durable peace on the peninsula," she said.
She added that the most important task for the military to undertake amid ongoing efforts to induce change in the North is to maintain a "watertight" readiness posture and sturdy deterrence.
"I call on the military to remain ready to counter all possibilities of potential provocations," Park said, stressing that the military should "strongly" retaliate against Pyongyang if provoked. It was the fourth time that Park has hosted the luncheon with military leaders.
Earlier in the day, the presidential office reiterated that the North's launches of the missiles on Wednesday are a clear violation of UNSC resolutions banning the North from conducting any tests using ballistic missile technology.
"With regard to (missile tests), we had discussions at the National Security Council yesterday, and I understand that related government agencies are reviewing various measures (in response to the tests)," presidential spokesman Jung Youn-kuk told reporters.
During a session of the National Unification Advisory Council on Wednesday, Park called Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear arms and long-range missiles a "grave provocation" that threatens peace on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
She also warned that the communist regime would only face deeper international isolation and self-destruction if it continues to push for advancing its nuclear and missile programs. (Yonhap)