Unification ministry slams N.K. leader’s hostile rhetoric toward S. Korea

SEOUL, South Korea's unification ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs on Tuesday lambasted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's hostile rhetoric toward Seoul and vowed to respond sternly. The ministry's criticism came as Kim called for revising the North's constitution to define South Korea as its "invariable principal enemy" and vowed to completely occupy South Korean territory in the event of war during a key parliamentary meeting the previous day. The speech marked the latest in Kim's sharp-worded criticism toward the South in recent weeks since he defined inter-Korean relations as "two states hostile to each other" and declared there is no point seeking reconciliation in a year-end party meeting. "North Korea should clearly realize it cannot earn anything -- security, economy or maintain its system -- through nuclear and missile weapons," the ministry said in a statement. The ministry said North Korea is attempting to divide South Korean society with such a "politically provocative act" and reaffi rmed the government's will to respond to such provocations in a strong and firm manner. Still the ministry said it will strive with the international community to assure that North Korean people can enjoy freedom, human rights and prosperity, noting it is the North Korean regime that continues to threaten South Korea, not its people. The ministry said it will also push to expand support for North Korean defectors, such as designating a day for them as instructed by President Yoon Suk Yeol in a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day. Source: Yonhap News Agency