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Park worries about sending wrong signal to N. Korea

All News 11:48 January 19, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday that the international community could send a wrong signal to North Korea if it fails to take strong and comprehensive measures against the communist country over its nuclear test earlier this month.

The U.N. Security Council has been working on a new resolution to further tighten sanctions on North Korea. South Korea, the U.S. and Japan have agreed to push for a strong and comprehensive response to North Korea's nuclear test, though it remains unclear whether China will join in tightening the screw on North Korea.

China is apparently against going too far on North Korea as tough sanctions could destabilize its communist neighbor, which in turn could harm Beijing's national interests.

China is one of the veto-wielding five permanent members of the council. The four other members are the U.S., Britain, France and Russia.

Park asked officials to make diplomatic efforts to ensure that the council can come up with strong and comprehensive sanctions by closely cooperating with the U.S. and other regional powers.

"If strong and effective measures are not taken this time, the international community could send the wrong signal to North Korea that it can't help it if North Korea conducts a fifth or sixth nuclear test," Park said in a Cabinet meeting.

North Korea has already been under U.N. sanctions for its three previous nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Still, North Korea managed to get around sanctions and pursued its nuclear weapons programs.

"We must make sure North Korea will clearly recognize what consequences its wrong behavior will bring," Park said.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken has arrived in Seoul to coordinate stance with South Korea over North Korea.

Park also called on the military to maintain readiness against a possible North Korean provocation while asking officials to brace for any possible cyberattack from North Korea.

On Monday, South Korea said massive spam emails sent to its public organizations were traced to an internet network in northeast China that Seoul said was behind a cyberattack on South Korea's nuclear power operator in 2014.

North Korea remains silent on its alleged hacking attempt against South Korea.

North Korea has a track record of waging cyberattacks on South Korea and the U.S. in recent years, though it has flatly denied any involvement.


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