BBC News on November 4, 2013, reported on South Korea’s President Park saying nations had to break the “vicious cycle” of Pyongyang’s actions. Excerpts below:

She said her country would take “firm and unremitting action” in response to any military provocation from North Korea.

The South Korean president was speaking to the BBC ahead of a visit to the UK,…

Park Geun-hye took office in February with a promise to revamp the Korean economy and enact a “trust-building” process with the North.

Her government reached an early agreement with Pyongyang to reopen a jointly-run industrial park at Kaesong, but further agreements – including a plan to reunite families separated by the Korean War – have not been honoured by the North.

And as signs of Pyongyang’s commitment to its nuclear and missile programmes continue, there are calls from some countries to reopen talks.

In an interview before leaving for Europe, Ms Park said the familiar pattern of dealing with the leadership there must be broken:

“We cannot repeat the vicious cycle of the past where North Korea’s nuclear threats and provocations were met with rewards and coddling, and then followed by renewed provocations and threats,” she said.

“We must sever that vicious cycle… otherwise North Korea will continue to advance its nuclear capability and we will come to a point where this situation will be even harder to crack;

Over the past three years, North Korea has carried out a nuclear test; launched a long-range rocket; restarted a nuclear reactor at Yongybyon; and shelled a South Korean island, killing four people, including civilians. It is also blamed by Seoul for sinking a South Korean warship with 46 sailors on board.

North Korea’s actions have gradually brought its friends and enemies closer together.

“China is a very close neighbour” she said, “and we are currently carrying out various programmes to give greater substance to that partnership.”

All of which makes South Korea’s current relationship with Japan all the more striking. Eight months after taking office, Ms Park has still not met her neighbour and fellow US ally, and talk of a summit, she said, was still premature.

Japan draws great public anger in South Korea with its claim over the rocky islet of Dokdo (known as Takeshima in Japan), which lies in the waters between the two nations.

Tokyo’s new assertiveness on this kind of issues is causing ripples with others in the region too, and with North Korea edging ever-closer to a deliverable nuclear weapons, regional co-operation – or lack of it – could carry real consequences.


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