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Park calls for national unity amid security crisis

All News 16:50 March 10, 2016

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye called Thursday for national unity to better cope with threats posed by North Korea's provocations.

North Korea has ratcheted up harsh rhetoric and demonstrated a show of force against South Korea over Seoul's largest-ever military drills with Washington.

Tensions have already spiked on the Korean Peninsula as the U.N. Security Council tightened sanctions on North Korea to punish Pyongyang for its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and long-range rocket launch on Feb. 7.

"Peace on the Korean Peninsula is being shaken due to North Korea's nuclear test and missile launch," Park said in a speech at the opening ceremony for a new office building of the North Gyeongsang Provincial government in Andong 268 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

North Korea has claimed its latest rocket launch was meant to put a satellite into orbit. Still, South Korea, the U.S. and other regional powers view it as a cover for testing its ballistic missile technology, which is banned under U.N. resolutions.

"Now is the time when national unity is important more than ever," Park said, adding that North Korea is targeting South Korea's government and its people through threats and cyberattacks.

The latest comments came hours after North Korea fired two short-range missiles that flew across North Korea before falling into waters off its eastern coastal city of Wonsan.

North Korea's missile program has been a major concern for South Korea, the U.S. and other regional powers as it could provide a vehicle for nuclear warheads.

The North has recently renewed its claim that it has mastered the technology to make nuclear warheads small enough to mount on missiles, though outside analysts question the country's miniaturization technology.

South Korea has recently accused North Korea of stealing information from about 10 South Korean officials by hacking into their smartphones in the latest cyberattacks.


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