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(2nd LD) Park says N. Korean leader uncontrollable, calls for stronger U.S. extended deterrence

All Headlines 22:50 September 09, 2016

(ATTN: RECASTS 4th para; ADDS Park's remarks, details in paras 5-9)
By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Friday excoriated North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for the country’s fifth nuclear test, calling him "uncontrollable" and stressing the need to strengthen the U.S. extended deterrence.

During a meeting of top security and foreign policy officials, Park underscored that the communist state's evolving nuclear threats are "urgent and existential" for South Korea, and that the international community's response to them must be "diametrically different" from what it has been.

"This (Pyongyang's nuclear test) clearly reaffirmed the North Korean regime's recklessness and its obsession with nuclear arms," she said during the meeting upon returning from an eight-day overseas trip.

President Park Geun-hye speaks during a meeting with top security and foreign policy officials at her office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Sept. 9, 2016 in this photo provided by the presidential office. (Yonhap)

"Kim Jong-un does not listen to anything from the international community so he can hold onto power, and this leads us to view his mental state as uncontrollable," she said.

Park, in particular, underscored the need to strengthen the U.S.' extended deterrence, which involves the nuclear umbrella.

Extended deterrence means Washington's stated commitment to mobilize all military capabilities, nuclear and conventional, to defend its ally against Pyongyang's possible aggression and provocations.

"To allay our people's concerns, I instruct our military to maintain a full readiness posture to strongly retaliate against any type of North Korean provocation," Park said.

Park, in addition, called for an end to the political offensive against the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system to the Korean Peninsula, saying that the nation should take "basic" steps to defend itself against the possibility of a North Korean attack.

Seoul and Washington plan to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery to the peninsula by the end of the next year. But some opposition lawmakers have opposed the plan, saying it could escalate regional tensions and bring South Korea into an intensifying Sino-U.S. rivalry.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said that the government will explore ways to respond to the North's latest provocation with the reckless aspect of the North Korean regime in mind.

The meeting was attended by the ministers of defense, foreign affairs and unification, and senior presidential secretaries in charge of security and foreign policy.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
(END)

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