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(LEAD) Park: N. Korea's nuclear program to hasten its collapse

All News 13:55 April 03, 2016

(ATTN: RECASTS throughout with comments by Park; CHANGES headline)
By Kim Kwang-tae

MEXICO CITY, April 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye pressed North Korea again on Saturday to give up its nuclear weapons program, warning its defiance will only lead to its collapse.

North Korea has repeatedly vowed to develop its economy and nuclear arsenal in tandem despite growing international pressure and sanctions.

North Korea views its nuclear program as a powerful deterrent that can ensure its survival against what it claims is Washington's hostile policy toward it.

"North Korea will only hasten its path toward thorough isolation and self-destruction unless it abandons the path of nuclear development and provocations," Park said in a dinner with about 200 representatives from the Korean community in Mexico at a hotel.

Park wore a "hanbok," or traditional Korean dress, at the event in a symbolic gesture to express her gratitude to the Korean community. She dressed in a red, green and white dress to match those of the Mexican flag.

The meeting is the first event of Park's four-day trip to Mexico. Park arrived in Mexico City earlier in the day from Washington, where she held crucial back-to-back meetings with her counterparts from the United States, China and Japan on the margins of a summit on nuclear security.

Park and her counterparts from the regional powers vowed to strictly enforce the toughest sanctions on North Korea ever over its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and a long-range rocket launch on Feb. 7.

Park told the participants that she plans to discuss a wide range of issues, including energy, infrastructure, health, and information and communication technology, with her Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto.

Park is set to meet with Pena Nieto on Monday on the third day of her trip.

Mexico has become South Korea's largest trading partner in Central and South America. South Korea's exports to Mexico came to US$10.9 billion in 2015, up from $6.3 billion in 2006.

A South Korean business delegation from more than 100 South Korean companies, including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, is in Mexico on the occasion of Park's visit to try to explore new business opportunities.

South Korea believes Mexico could offer considerable business opportunities, as Mexico is pushing for massive infrastructure projects.


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