South’s Park Geun-hye ap­peals to North Kore­ans

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

SOUTH Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye has called on North Kore­ans to aban­don their coun­try and de­fect, just a day af­ter a sol­dier walked across the heav­ily for­ti­fied bor­der into the South.

In a rare mes­sage di­rectly ad­dressed to rankand-file troops and North Korean cit­i­zens, the pres­i­dent on Satur­day in­vited North Kore­ans to re­lo­cate to the “bo­som of free­dom” in the South.

“We are well aware of the grue­some re­al­i­ties you face,” Park said dur­ing a speech mark­ing the coun­try’s Armed Forces Day.

“The uni­ver­sal val­ues of free­dom, democ­racy, hu­man rights and wel­fare are the pre­cious rights you should also en­joy.

“We will keep the road open for you to find hope and live a new life. Please come to the bo­som of free­dom in the South when­ever you want.”

The call comes a month af­ter North Korea’s deputy am­bas­sador to Bri­tain de­fected to South Korea, hand­ing the coun­try a ma­jor pro­pa­ganda coup at a time of ris­ing ten­sion on the di­vided Korean penin­sula.

Ties be­tween the two Koreas are at the low­est ebb since the height of Cold War in the 1970s, with Py­ongyang test-fir­ing more than 20 mis­siles and car­ry­ing out two nu­clear tests this year alone.

Park said de­fec­tions by North Koreas flee­ing hunger and op­pres­sion were in­creas­ing dras­ti­cally. “There have been per­sis­tent de­fec­tions, even by North Korean elites who have been sup­port­ing the regime”, she said.

In April, 12 wait­resses and their man­ager who had been work­ing at a North Korea-themed restau­rant in China made head­lines when they ar­rived in South Korea in a rare group de­fec­tion. — AFP

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