SEOUL, – South Korean President Park Geun-hye said North Koreamust change its behavior before Seoul considers resuming factory operations in Kaesong.
“Dialogue only moves in circles before North Korea shows a sincere change in attitude…this time around, a change must come first no matter what,” Park told reporters in Seoul.
In February, South Korea unilaterally suspended operations at the jointly operated factory park in the North, citing proof that Pyongyang has been using the project to finance its nuclear weapons program.
The decision was met with strong opposition from the South Korean businessmen who held assets in the North. Opposition politicians have said Park’s administration had no evidence for its claims.
Frozen assets include $852 million of South Korean investments into factories and facilities such as roads, and private business investments constituted more than half of total investment.
Speaking to press on Tuesday, Park seemed to suggest Seoul was caving into international pressure after a series of North Korea provocations that included a nuclear test in January and a rocket launch in February, local news service Money Today reported.
“In the face of North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, the international community’s opposition and North Korea’s dismissal of the warnings the first thought that came to my mind was national security,” Park said.
The South Korean president added that in the midst of moves within the international community to stop the North’s nuclear program, South Korea couldn’t just, “do nothing.”
Park also said the Kaesong shutdown served as a stepping stone to international pressure against the North.
Park said Pyongyang North Korea could conduct a fifth nuclear test, but that if it chooses to test the situation could “significantly change,” Yonhap reported.
More powerful sanctions would follow, Park said.