Updated: 05/08/2013 23:01 | By Agence France-Presse

S.Korea president proposes peace park with N.Korea

South Korea's president on Wednesday proposed an international park on the tense border with North Korea as part of a peace initiative to bring down soaring tensions in the region.


S.Korea president proposes peace park with N.Korea

South Korean soldiers watch a North Korean building in the demilitarised zone between the two on April 23, 2013. South Korea's president on Wednesday proposed an international park on the tense border with North Korea as part of a peace initiative to bring down soaring tensions in the region.

"The Demilitarized Zone must live up to its name, a zone that strengthens the peace, not undermines it," President Park Geun-Hye told a joint meeting of the US House of Representatives and Senate.

"It is with this vision in mind that I hope to work toward an international park inside the DMZ. It will be a park that sends a message of peace to all of humanity," she said.

The proposal, while vague in detail, marks a shift in tone from the newly elected conservative leader who vowed a day earlier with President Barack Obama to take a hard line after months of soaring tensions with North Korea.

The most visible symbol of cooperation between North and South Korea -- the Kaesong industrial park inside the impoverished communist side -- has been suspended amid the democratic South's fears for its citizens' safety.

"I call on America and the global community to join us in seeking the promise of a new day," Park said.

Park described the proposal as part of her idea of "trustpolitik" -- stabilizing relations between the two Koreas -- that she laid out before election as a way to find a new path to the six-decade conflict.

But tensions have soared since December as North Korea launched a small satellite and carried out its third nuclear test. In remarks apocalyptic even by North Korea's standards, young leader Kim Jong-Un threatened nuclear war against the United States and South Korea.

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