Park attacks ‘Sunshine Policy’ after 5th test

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Park attacks ‘Sunshine Policy’ after 5th test

President Park Geun-hye harshly rebuked the Kim Dae-jung administration on Wednesday for having offered money to North Korea in return for dialogue, and ultimately financing the regime’s nuclear arms program.

In her opening remarks at the senior presidential secretariat meeting, Park addressed the security crisis on the Korean peninsula in the aftermath of the North’s fifth nuclear test and rejected liberal politicians’ demand to resume talks with the North, saying their past strategy only allowed the regime to secure money and buy more time for its nuclear arms program.

“Some said the North’s fifth nuclear test proved the ineffectiveness of the sanctions on the regime and argued that now is time to start a dialogue,” Park said. “But the North’s repeated nuclear tests are not because we, and the international community, did not talk to them. The history of the North’s nuclear development proves quite the opposite.

“The money given for the so-called dialogue became funds for the North’s nuclear development,” Park said. “While we spent time negotiating with the North, which had no intention of denuclearization, the North actually used that time to secretly advance its nuclear capabilities. In the end, we face the current situation.”

Although Park did not directly mention particular policies of previous liberal administrations, her remarks clearly targeted the so-called “Sunshine Policy” of the late President Kim. She also made clear her rejection of demands for an inter-Korean dialogue, pushed forward by the opposition Minjoo Party of Korea and People’s Party.

During his 1998-2003 presidency, Kim held a historic inter-Korean summit with then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2000. On the eve of their meeting in Pyongyang, Hyundai Group secretly transferred $450 million to the North, supposedly to persuade the North Korean leader to attend the summit.

Earlier this week, the conservative ruling Saenuri made a similar argument to blame the Kim administration for the current nuclear crisis. Rep. Kim Jin-tae of the Saenuri Party said Tuesday that a National Assembly hearing must take place to investigate the money-for-summit scandal.

“We did support the North,” he said. “I remember the illegal transfer of $450 million in cash to the North in 2000.”

While there was no evidence to prove at the time that the money was used to finance the North’s nuclear arms programs, the situation is different now because Pyongyang has conducted five tests so far, he said.

Park on Wednesday also attacked the protesters of her decision to allow the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system in the South. “Some even argue that our self-defense measures, such as the decision to deploy Thaad, triggered the North’s fifth nuclear test,” she said. “That is as ridiculous as if one were to say that a fire has broken out because there is a fire station.”

But she was careful to treat the North Korean regime separately from the North Korean people. “Although the North suffered a serious flood, Kim Jong-un was obsessed with the fifth nuclear test and celebrated the success of the new rocket engine, rather than focusing on the restoration,” Park said. “I am baffled to see that he does not care at all about the North Korean people’s lives, while he is only thinking about keeping his regime and his own personal interests.”

Calling the North’s young ruler by his name, without any title, Park said she will do everything to dampen Kim’s maniacal obsession with the nuclear and missile programs, and to protect the South Korean people. “I believe the North won’t join a denuclearization dialogue and its nuclear and missile provocations will further advance,” she said, promising to take necessary independent measures to pressure the North, in addition to the new and stronger international sanctions.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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