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(LEAD) Park orders military to maintain full readiness against N.K. provocations

All Headlines 11:51 August 29, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more info and comments from Park in paras 5-7, 10-11)
By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL Aug. 29 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Monday ordered her military to maintain a full readiness posture to ensure that any North Korean provocation will lead to the "self-destruction" of the communist regime.

During a meeting with her senior secretaries, the commander-in-chief also instructed her government to craft "effective" measures against the North's evolving nuclear and missile capabilities.

"I call on you to maintain a robust posture to retaliate ... to make sure that any attempt by the North at engaging in any form of provocations will lead to the self-destruction of the North Korean regime," she said.

Park has recently cranked up her rhetoric against Pyongyang as the reclusive state has continued to engage in provocative acts, including last week's launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which was largely seen as a success.

During her visit to a front-line unit on Wednesday, Park called the North's autocratic decision-making system "irrational" and its leader Kim Jong-un "hard-to-predict," stressing that security threats from Pyongyang are no longer hypothetical.

During Monday's meeting, Park underscored the importance of the "solid" South Korea-U.S. alliance and "watertight" readiness posture, buttressed by civilian-military-government cooperation, so as to counter persistent North Korean threats.

"When our lives are directly threatened, the work of protecting the security is the crucial task that determines the fate of our nation and lives of our citizens," she said.

Berating North Korean leader Kim for ignoring his people's economic hardships while focusing on his nuclear program, the president stressed that the North Korean human rights issue is a humanitarian matter that can no longer be put on the back burner.

"(The improvement of the human rights in the North) is the cornerstone for us to open an era of peaceful reunification," she said. "The government will send out to the North Korean people messages of hope for freedom and (human) dignity."

Instructing her government to continue efforts to shine a light on the North's dismal human rights situation, Park also welcomed the enforcement of the North Korea Human Rights Act, which will go into effect on Sept. 4.

"Though it seems a bit late, we now have the basic law and institutional framework to help protect human rights of North Koreans," she said.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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