South’s Park Geun-hye appeals to North Koreans
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