News / Asia

South Korea Brushes Off North's 'Final Destruction' Threat

People watch a television program showing a propaganda video released by North Korea at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, February 20, 2013.
People watch a television program showing a propaganda video released by North Korea at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, February 20, 2013.
South Korea's top national security official, in an exclusive VOA interview, says there is no cause for alarm amid a fresh North Korean threat to destroy the South.

National Security Adviser, Chun Yung-woo, says he is disappointed but not alarmed by a North Korean diplomat's bombastic threat.

Chun told VOA's Korean Service Wednesday that Pyongyang routinely resorts to “violent vocabulary and expressions” to issue threats of war and retaliation. So such rhetoric unleashed at an international conference is not surprising.

At a United Nations disarmament conference Tuesday in Geneva, North Korean diplomat Jon Yong Ryong predicted “South Korea's erratic behavior would only herald its final destruction.”

Jon also said Pyongyang will take further steps in wake of its February 12 nuclear bomb test, but he did not elaborate.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Aug. 15, 2012.South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Aug. 15, 2012.
x
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Aug. 15, 2012.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Aug. 15, 2012.
North Korea has regularly vilified South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as “rat-like” and the leader of a “gang of traitors.”

Lee, limited to a single five-year term, leaves office Monday when President-elect Park Geun-hye is to be inaugurated.

In a farewell speech Tuesday, Lee surprised many by contending that people in North Korea, an isolated and highly repressive country, are changing.

Chun says Seoul cannot reveal specific evidence but that, indeed, an “important wind of change is blowing” in the North.

Chun, the presidential chief secretary for foreign affairs and security, says this is a result of various tools South Korea has at its disposal. He also says the Voice of America should get some of the credit for the change. And, Chun predicts VOA, because of its nightly broadcasts into North Korea, will play a key role in shaping the reclusive and impoverished country's destiny.

A passenger walks past a television report on North Korea's nuclear test at a railway station in Seoul February 12, 2013.A passenger walks past a television report on North Korea's nuclear test at a railway station in Seoul February 12, 2013.
x
A passenger walks past a television report on North Korea's nuclear test at a railway station in Seoul February 12, 2013.
A passenger walks past a television report on North Korea's nuclear test at a railway station in Seoul February 12, 2013.
After North Korea's recent space launch and nuclear test, Chun says stronger sanctions to be imposed by the U.N. Security Council are key to restraining Pyongyang from further provocation.

“China's stance will be the most important factor that North Korea will base its decisions on whether to conduct further nuclear tests and missile launches,” the security adviser says.

Some analysts predict North Korean officials will wait until they see the severity of the new sanctions before giving the go-ahead for a fourth nuclear test.

But Li Hong, a well-known advocate for arms control and nuclear disarmament in China, cautions that the North Korean nuclear program is a long-standing and complicated matter and the rest of the world should not insist Beijing resolve it.

“No country, not only China, even the number one -- the United States -- can't have a solution to the issue," Li said. "How can you expect China to solve this issue?”

Li, the secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, made the remark in Seoul, Wednesday, at the Asan Nuclear Forum.

China is North Korea's neighbor and sole remaining significant ally. It is also a critical source of hundreds of millions of dollars annually of food supplies and badly needed aid.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: BK_inAZ from: AZ
February 20, 2013 2:53 PM
Sounds more like the Mafia than a nation. This is nothing more than an extortion racket by a county that is building bigger guns (nuclear weapons) themselves.


by: Joseph from: Washington DC
February 20, 2013 1:15 PM
Considering the recent cyber attack/hack/data theft on multiple US utility infrastructures, by the Chinese government, I don't think China's exactly trustworthy. The US and South Korea can't afford to be blindly optimistic at a time like this.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid