Uncertainty lingers as to whether South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s proposals to bolster humanitarian aid to North Korea and bilateral exchanges will lead to a turnaround in the strained ties, given high military tensions and mutual distrust.
Aimed at laying the groundwork for reunification, Park’s proposals for “humanity, co-prosperity and integration” included extending aid to mothers and their babies; building infrastructure in the North in return for rights to develop underground resources; and increasing bilateral exchanges in various sectors.
“At this point in time, Park’s proposals are likely to be perceived by Pyongyang as a ‘poisonous apple’ ― a package that ultimately seeks to achieve reunification by absorbing the North,” said Cheong Seong-jang, a senior research fellow at the think tank Sejong Institute.
Pyongyang maintains its bellicose stance toward Seoul. On Sunday it threatened to conduct a “new type” of nuclear test and continued its verbal criticism of President Park.
Amid annual South Korea-U.S. military drills, the North has fired off dozens of ballistic missiles and short-range rockets in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
[The Korea Herald]