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U.S. Senator urges N. Korea to show `sincerity` for improved ties
JANUARY 25, 2014 05:22  
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said that it is North Korea`s long pattern to offer dialogue after making provocations and rather than sending open letter to the South, Pyongyang should show sincerity in improving external relations.

The Republican senator made the remarks during a lecture on the United States` Asia policy held at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies on Friday, saying that the first challenge to be addressed in East Asia is North Korea`s provocations. Rubio is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee`s East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee.

In 2012, the U.S. Time magazine selected Rubio, who came from a family of Cuban immigrants, as one of the most influential people in the world. Backed by Latino voters in the United States, he is considered one of the Republican Party`s presidential hopefuls.

He said that in North Korea, which is under iron-fist rule like Cuba, human rights the fundamental freedom are not guaranteed and that many people suffer from hunger or are incarcerated in concentration camps for political prisoners "just because they were born there."

With reference to Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American detained in the North for 15 months, the senator called him a "de facto hostage." He also said that he found the demilitarized zone (DMZ) "shocking" because it is not only a border separating the South and the North but also a border separating democracy and despotism, freedom and oppression, and economic opportunities and dire destitution.

Regarding the strained ties between South Korea and Japan, Rubio said it is a "sensitive and painful issue," noting that the soured relations have become a big stumbling block for the security and stability of the U.S. as well for those of Northeast Asia.

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