South Korean president warns of future provocations

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 16, 2013, 16:21 Updated : December 16, 2013, 16:21
South Korea's president has warned of possible "reckless provocations" by the North, following the shock execution of Communist leader Kim Jong-un's uncle. President Park Geun-hye said the South Korean military must step up vigilance along the border with the North.

She said last week's execution of the influential figure Jang Song-thaek left the region in a "grave and unpredictable" situation. Jang was executed after allegedly planning a coup.

The move - together with the recall of a North Korean business team from China - prompted concerns that Jang's associates were being purged as part of a campaign by Kim Jong-un to consolidate his power. It also led to fears for the stability of the nuclear-armed state.

"Given the latest development in the North, it is uncertain in what direction its political situation would evolve," President Park said during a meeting with senior government officials on Monday. "We also can't rule out the possibility of contingencies such as reckless provocations," she added.

Park is due to meet top level security officials later on Monday to discuss the situation.

Meanwhile, North Korea has been keen to present an image of business as usual. A government official in Pyongyang said on Sunday that the country's economic plans would carry on undisrupted.

At the same time, Kim has continued with his usual public appearances, visiting a military design institute and a construction site.
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