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Park renews call for N. Korea to abandon nukes

All Headlines 10:03 March 03, 2016

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye again called on North Korea Thursday to abandon its nuclear programs, expressing hope that the communist nation will strive for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Earlier, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted the toughest-ever sanctions against Pyongyang for its latest nuclear and missile tests.

"I sincerely hope that North Korea gives up its nuclear programs and walks down the path of change in the future," Park said in a message delivered at the National Prayer Breakfast meeting in southern Seoul.

Park said the tough sanctions adopted unanimously by the 15-member council reflect the international community's stern message for peace on the peninsula and in the world.

The new sanctions seek to put curbs on the North's weapons programs through what could amount to a land, sea and air blockade designed to dry up the country's key revenue sources.

"I express gratitude for efforts made by the UNSC and the international community," the president said.

Park also urged North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to stop oppressing the freedom of North Korean citizens and immediately stop his "tyrannical rule."

Park said the Seoul government will "join hands with the international community to put an end to the tyranny of oppressing freedom and human rights in the North."

The comments mark the first time that Park used the word "tyranny" to describe Kim's regime, apparently reflecting her support for international sanctions and the passage of a parliamentary bill aimed at improving North Korea's human rights condition.

After more than a decade, the National Assembly on Wednesday endorsed a long-stalled bill aimed at improving North Korea's dismal human rights situation

The bill calls for a concerted effort to improve the North's human rights situation, such as setting up a foundation tasked with collecting information and maintaining relevant archives. The legislation also outlines support for defector organizations in the South that float anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the inter-Korean border in balloons, a campaign that is strongly opposed by Pyongyang.

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