February 17, 2016 12:32
President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday signaled a fundamental shift in her administration's policy on North Korea.
Park told the National Assembly in an address that her government no longer expects the North Korean regime to change and vowed to focus all efforts on pressuring the renegade country even at the risk of regime collapse.
"We will take stronger and more effective measures to create an environment where the North cannot survive with its nuclear development, which will eventually speed up the collapse of the regime," Park said.
She added that her decision to shut down the joint-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex was just the beginning.
"Most of the dollars we paid are presumed to have been funneled into the Workers Party responsible for nuclear and missile development, instead of being used to improve the livelihood of ordinary people," Park said, referring to the industrial park that was the fruit of former president Kim Dae-jung's abortive "sunshine policy."
"While the international community is seeking to ban cash flow into North Korea, we as the closest party to the problem should assist in any attempt to force the North to abandon its nuclear program," she added.
Experts say there is currently no point in engaging the North.
Kim Tae-woo of the Korea Institute for National Unification said, "The Kaesong Industrial Complex was exempt from sanctions because of its supposed role as a safety valve reducing tensions between North and South Korea, but the North’s nuclear weapons program has become too dangerous now."
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