U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday challenged Kim Jong Eun to become a “transformative leader” in order to change the fate of North Korea.
Clinton, who was speaking at a press conference in Washington alongside Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and South Korean Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan Jin and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung Hwan, declared, “This young man, should he make a choice that would help bring North Korea into the 21st century, could go down in history as a transformative leader.”
However, she went on to warn, “Or he can continue the model of the past and eventually North Korea will change, because at some point people cannot live under such oppressive conditions; starving to death, being put into gulags, and having their basic human rights denied. So we’re hoping that he will chart a different course for his people.”
“We hope that the new leadership in Pyongyang will live up to its agreements, will not engage in threats and provocations, will put the North Korean people first,” Clinton went on. “Rather than spending money on implements of war, feed your people, provide education and healthcare, and lift your people out of poverty and isolation.”
Clinton’s remarks echoed a similar ‘direct message’ sent to Kim by President Barack Obama during a speech he made in Seoul in late March, when he too urged North Korea to change, saying, “To the leaders in Pyongyang I say; this is the choice before you, this is the decision that you must make. Today we say, Pyongyang; have the courage to pursue peace and give a better life to the people of North Korea.”
Meanwhile, Minister of National Defense Kim cautioned North Korea against any thoughts of provocation, reaffirming South Korea’s determination to respond “decisively” to any such acts, while the two countries also announced plans to cooperate more closely on issues of cyber terrorism, something which North Korea appears to be focusing on in its strategy against South Korea.
“I am pleased to announce that the United States and Korea will launch a bilateral dialogue on cyber issues,” Clinton said as she unveiled the move, adding, “Working together, we can improve the security of our government, military, and commercial infrastructure, and better protect against cyber attacks.”