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S. Korean president: Time to end "vicious circle" with North Korea

Before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye called a nuclear-armed North Korea unacceptable and entreated her American allies to help end the "vicious cycle" that has allowed North Korea to build up nuclear capabilities.

"The Republic of Korea will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. Pyongyang's provocations will be met decisively," she said. And as long as South Korea's alliance with the U.S. remains strong, "You can rest assured that no North Korean provocation can succeed," Park said to a standing ovation from Congress.

Currently, she said, the international community is engaged in a pattern of behavior with North Korea that is "all too familiar and badly misguided."

"North Korea provokes a crisis," Park continued. "The international community imposes a certain period of sanctions. Later it tries to patch things up by offering concessions and rewards. Meanwhile, Pyongyang uses that time to advance its nuclear capabilities... Uncertainty prevails."

She declared, "It is time to put an end to this vicious circle."

Park, South Korea's first female president, is on her first trip to the U.S. since taking office. On Tuesday, she met with President Obama. In a news conference with Park, Mr. Obama said they would "welcome it" if North Korean leadership decided took "a different path" in its approach to its global positioning.

While taking a hardline approach to North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Park said she will not link humanitarian aid to North Korean people such as infants and children to the political situation.

Park said the path to peace starts with trust. Through trust and cooperation, she said, "we will cement the ground for durable peace and eventually peaceful reunification."

However, she continued, "As we say in Korea, it takes two hands to clap. Trust is not something that can be imposed on another."

Pyongyang's dual goals of building up a nuclear arsenal and economic development are incompatible, the South Korean president said. "The leadership in Pyongyang must make no mistake," she said, "security does not come from nuclear weapons. Security comes from when the lives of its people are improved...when people are free to pursue their happiness."

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