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(LEAD) Park calls N.K. decision-making system 'irrational'

All Headlines 17:38 August 24, 2016

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with Park's remarks in lead, 2nd para)

SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Wednesday called North Korea's autocratic decision-making system "irrational" and its leader Kim Jong-un "hard-to-predict," stressing that security threats from the communist state are becoming increasingly real.

During her visit to a front-line Army unit, the commander-in-chief also reiterated that Pyongyang could undertake various types of provocations to fend off possible unrest in the North that could flare up due to the North's deepening international isolation and economic hardships.

"Considering the North's irrational decision-making system under the one-man dictatorship, and the hard-to-predict character of (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un, it is fair to say that the risks of the (military) threats becoming real are very high," Park said.

Accompanied by Defense Minister Han Min-koo and dozens of senior military and government officials, Park met with border troops who are participating in the ongoing annual military drills jointly conducted by South Korea and the U.S.

The Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, which Pyongyang criticizes as a rehearsal for an invasion, began its two-week run on Monday. In an apparent protest against it, the North launched an SLBM off its east coast on Wednesday morning.

It was Park's first visit to a military unit since December last year when she traveled to a unit of the Army's 28th division in Yeoncheon, some 62 kilometers north of Seoul.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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