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(3rd LD) Park calls on political circles to put up united front against N.K. threats

All News 15:42 September 12, 2016

(ATTN: CHANGES photo, headline, lead; UPDATES throughout with Park's remarks; TRIMS)
By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Monday called on political circles to put up a united front in coping with security and economic challenges amid escalating nuclear threats from North Korea.

She made the call during the meeting with the leaders of the ruling Saenuri Party, the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea and the People's Party -- Lee Jung-hyun, Choo Mi-ae and Park Jie-won, respectively.

"Tensions are rising due to North Korea's fifth nuclear test and there are various risk factors with regard to the security and economy," she said. "I believe it is important to show (to the people) that we are moving forward as one mind."

The meeting came three days after Pyongyang sharply raised cross-border tensions with its fifth and most powerful nuclear test.

It is the first such gathering since the new National Assembly began its term on May 30.

Besides the political leaders, the meeting was also attended by National Security Office chief Kim Kwan-jin, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo and Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho.

In the face of Pyongyang's mounting military threats, the commander-in-chief has repeatedly stressed the importance of national unity, warning that the communist regime has sought to sow division among South Koreans.

During Monday's meeting, Park was also expected to seek bipartisan support for the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system, which she has repeatedly defended as an "inevitable, self-defense" measure.

Last week, the president called for an end to the "political offensive" against the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to the Korean Peninsula.

The leaders of the two opposition parties, Choo and Park, have opposed THAAD, arguing it would further aggravate cross-border tensions and complicate efforts to resolve the decades-old nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye (2nd from R) and the leaders of the the ruling Saenuri Party, the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea and the People's Party -- Lee Jung-hyun (R), Choo Mi-ae (2nd from L) and Park Jie-won -- chat before their talks at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Sept. 12, 2016. (Yonhap)


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