SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Park Geun-hye is urging North Korea to abandon its drive for nuclear weapons or face deepening isolation and deteriorating ties with Seoul.
Her national speech Friday came four days after her inauguration as the country's first female president. She already faces unusually low popularity ratings. Parliament is gridlocked over objections to her Cabinet nominations and her government restructuring plans.
Ties with Pyongyang are also tense. North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in mid-February and has vowed to continue building nuclear weapons. Pyongyang's state media Friday criticized the start of U.S.-South Korean military drills as invasion preparations. The allies call the drills defensive.
Park's speech marked the 94th anniversary of protests against Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of Korea. She urged Tokyo to take responsibility for past abuse.