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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid