South Korea’s Park Geun-hye criticized for urging North Korean defections

SEOUL, Oct. 4 (UPI) — South Korean President Park Geun-hye is being attacked again after she urged North Koreans to defect for the “bosom of freedom” in the South.

This time, however, the criticism came from South Korea’s political opposition, local news service Newsis reported on Tuesday.

Woo Sang-ho, who leads the main opposition Minjoo Party, said Park’s call for mass defections would lead to a refugee crisis.

“Does [the president] think if we accept North Korean refugees at present, life will be normal in Seoul?” Woo said. “If North Korea collapses, refugees will emerge like in the Middle East. Even if 100,000 refugees arrive, each of Seoul’s 25 districts will cope with more than 4,000 homeless refugees.”

Woo also said Park’s call for defections is a “very dangerous statement,” and asked how the president had transitioned from calls for dialogue and North Korea reform, to calling for the collapse of the Kim Jong Un regime.

In August Park had suggested there are “serious cracks” emerging in the Pyongyang government and the possibility the system would be “shaken” is increasing.

North Korea has been increasing provocations in 2016, including tests of midrange ballistic missiles and two underground nuclear tests that have drawn international condemnation.

Belligerent acts, however, have been growing at a time when Kim may be increasingly unpopular in North Korea.

According to research posted on the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Beyond Parallel website, a survey of North Koreans currently in the country show clear dissatisfaction with the government.

North Koreans are no longer dependent on the public distribution system for their daily needs, and angered by government intervention into their business activities.

Other issues North Koreans are unhappy about include prison sentences for selling merchandise on the black market, forced labor mobilization, asset seizures and power outages, according to the study.

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