Seoul to pressurise Pyongyang to give up n-programme

Seoul, Jan 22 (IANS) South Korea on Friday vowed to respond to North Korea’s nuclear programme sternly in 2016 after Pyongyang’s nuclear test earlier this month.

President Park Geun-hye was briefed by foreign, defence and unification ministers about their respective policy directions in 2016, which focused on resolving Pyongyang’s nuclear issue through stronger sanctions and pressure rather than dialogue and consultations, Xinhua reported.

It was a sharp turn from last year’s policy reports to Park, which were centred on ending the era of the divided Korean peninsula and preparing for a new era of a reunified Korea.

The turn into a tougher stance came as Pyongyang claimed on January 6 that it had tested its first hydrogen bomb.

It marked the fourth nuclear test in North Korea and the second since the country’s top leader Kim Jong Un took power in 2011.

The South Korean foreign ministry submitted its plan to Park that will place its top priority on resolving North Korea’s nuclear issue by diplomatically pressuring Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons programme.

Seoul will pursue the strongest ever resolution at the UN Security Council, while increasing the trilateral dialogue channels with Washington, Beijing and Tokyo.

The country will also call on China and Russia to play constructive roles in resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.

Seoul seeks n-talks minus Pyongyang

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Friday that six-party talks, which exclude North Korea, should be sought to restart the dialogue channel to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.

Park made the remarks when she was briefed by the foreign, unification and defence ministries about their 2016 policy directions, Xinhua reported.

“South Korea should seek various and creative approaches such as attempting five-way talks that exclude North Korea as well as six-party talks,” Park said.

The president said though the six-party talks were effective as a tool in the past to resolve the nuclear issue, the effectiveness is currently called into question as the talks have not been held for long and helped little denuclearise the Korean peninsula.

The six-party talks to denuclearise the peninsula, involving South Korea, North Korea, China, the US, Japan and Russia, were halted since late 2008.

Park stressed the importance of stronger sanctions against Pyongyang over its claim on January 6 that it had tested its first hydrogen bomb.

Park instructed the officials to make all-out diplomatic efforts to make strong and effective sanctions against Pyongyang drawn up at the UN Security Council and bilateral and multilateral sanctions taken in addition to the UN resolution.

It would be important to create an environment that can force change in North Korea, Park noted.

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