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S Korea seeks 'turning point' in ties with North

South Korea said on Monday it was seeking "a turning point" in relations with North Korea and again urged its communist nuclear-armed northern neighbour to disarm.

world Updated: Jan 04, 2010 08:49 IST

South Korea said on Monday it was seeking "a turning point" in relations with North Korea and again urged its communist nuclear-armed northern neighbour to disarm.

President Lee Myung-Bak's remarks followed a call by North Korea on Friday for an end to hostile relations with South Korea's key ally, the United States, and a nuclear-free peninsula.

"This year, South Korea and North Korea should create a turning point in their relations," Lee said in a nationally television New Year's address, suggesting the establishment of an inter-Korean dialogue body.

Inter-Korean ties have been strained since the conservative leader took office in 2008 and linked the South's massive aid and economic cooperation to progress in the North's nuclear disarmament.

Lee also repeated his call for North Korea to return "as soon as possible" to the six-party nuclear disarmament talks that Pyongyang quit nine months ago so that the two neighbours can improve their relationship.

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