President Park Geun-hye on Friday vowed to make North Korea realize that it cannot sustain its regime without abandoning its nuclear program, saying the international community's will to denuclearize the communist state will never waver.
During an event to mark the 66th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, Park also criticized Pyongyang for "walking on a dangerous path of isolation and confrontation," noting that the tragedy of the Cold War continues on here.
"By building a strong security posture based on the South Korea-U.S. alliance and strengthening sanctions and pressure through cooperation with the international community, we will make North Korea clearly realize that it cannot maintain its regime without putting down its nukes," she said during the event.
The event, which was hosted by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, brought together some 510 people including those who fought under the U.N. banner in support of South Korea during the 1950-53 war, the first major armed conflict of the Cold War.
Stressing the importance of strong deterrence capabilities in handling a provocative North Korea, the president pointed out that peace can only be safeguarded with "our own strength and willingness to protect ourselves."
"Unification can materialize based on our defense capabilities that can maintain peace," the commander-in-chief said.
"The (Seoul) government will make efforts to ensure that South Korea, which you (veterans) defended with your blood and sweat, can entrench peace on the Korean Peninsula and open an era of peaceful reunification."
Expressing her appreciation to the Korean War veterans, Park cast them as "living witnesses" that attest to how great sacrifices and devotion are required to keep the freedom and peace that South Koreans now enjoy.
"The Korean War has left deep scars on our Koreans, but a big meaning lies in the fact that 21 nations joined forces to protect a liberal democracy," she pointed out.
Among the participants in the event was Seymour Bernstein, a world-renowned pianist and a Korean War veteran. Bernstein is known for having performed for frontline troops some 100 times during the war. (Yonhap)