It was not immediately clear how the North would respond to the
proposal, made in a speech in Dresden, Germany, but it has
repeatedly rejected the idea of abandoning its nuclear program,
which it says is a necessary deterrent against U.S. hostility.
North and South Korea have been technically at war since the end of
their 1950-53 civil conflict, as the fighting ended with a mere
truce, not a treaty. North Korea threatened nuclear strikes against
the South and the United States last year after the United Nations
tightened sanctions against it for conducting its third nuclear
Park said the two Koreas must put confrontation behind them and
start the work of preparing for unification, and offered to help
develop the North's economy, agriculture and social infrastructure.
"In order for these efforts for us to become one again to bear
results at an early time, North Korea must go on the road to
denuclearization," Park said.
She also offered to help the North join the international financial
system and proposed the establishment of liaison offices on both
sides to promote exchanges.
Park's proposal continues a series of policy initiatives by Park and
her predecessor offering huge economic incentives in return for the
North giving up its nuclear ambitions.
Five countries including the South and the United States in 2005
also struck a deal with the North to provide economic aid in return
for an agreement to end its nuclear arms program, which Pyongyang
has since torn up.
On Thursday, the North ridiculed Park in scathing commentary for her
comments at a nuclear security summit earlier in the week in The
Hague where she spoke about the risk of nuclear weapons
proliferation posed by North Korea.
[to top of second column]
"Explicitly speaking about the nuclear issue, there may be the
denuclearization of the whole Korean peninsula but no unilateral
denuclearization by the north under any circumstances," it said.
"She had better not even dream about it."
North Korea has accused the United States of maintaining nuclear
weapons in South Korea and planning to invade the North, which
North Korea's economy is about a thirtieth of the size of industrial
powerhouse South Korea and often has trouble feeding its people.
Its missile launches and nuclear tests since 2006 have led to U.N.
Security Council resolutions that ban arms trade and cut it off
international financial system.
In the latest rebuke of the North's arms provocation, the U.N.
Security Council condemned its ballistic missile launch this week as
a violation of resolutions and said it would hold discussions on a
(Reporting by Jack Kim; editing by Nick Macfie)
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