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, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech 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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs