President Park Geun-hye voiced concerns over the volatile situation in Northeast Asia during an hour-long interview with CNN on Monday.
Pointing out that North Korea has become even more unpredictable after the arrest and execution of Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-thaek,. she said she puts the utmost importance on national security and safeguarding the South Korean people.
With regards to the political implications of the purge, the president stated that no one knows for sure at this stage whether it reflects Kim Jong-un's strengthened power or his vulnerability.
But she said one thing is very clear-- that any North Korean provocation would be met with a very firm response.
Saying that further provocations have been predicted by experts at home and abroad in the coming months, President Park stressed the need to prepare for every eventuality.
When asked about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine, the president said she hopes to form future-oriented relations with Tokyo based on a correct understanding of history.
President Park also urged Tokyo to follow through with the Murayama and Kono statements, that propelled Korea-Japan relations forward in the past.
The two statements contain official apologies for Japan's colonization and wartime atrocities.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview with Bloomberg News, President Park emphasized that reunifying the two Koreas is vital for regional security, and stated that she will work toward building a global consensus on the matter.
Han Da-eun, Arirang News.