SKorea vows to stick to NKorea policy as tensions increase
South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak has vowed to stick to his tougher line on North Korea despite a move from Pyongyang to scrap agreements on easing military tensions.world Updated: Jan 31, 2009 09:24 IST
South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak has vowed to stick to his tougher line on North Korea despite a move from Pyongyang to scrap agreements on easing military tensions.
North Korea, which accused Seoul on Friday of pushing relations to the brink of war, said that all political and military agreements would be nullified, including one covering their Yellow Sea border -- the scene of bloody naval clashes in 1999 and 2002.
But in a TV discussion late on Friday, Lee said he was optimistic that inter-Korean ties would be repaired before too long, even though he did not explain how.
"In the six decades of division (of the Korean peninsula), one year of tension is affordable in order to put inter-Korean ties right," said Lee.
"Even if it may take time in the beginning, it's better to set off in the right direction instead of hurrying towards a wrong direction," he added.
"South and North Korea will resume negotiations in the not so distant future," he said, without elaborating.
Lee, who took office a year ago, rolled back the "sunshine" engagement policy of his liberal predecessors and said he would review the summit pacts reached between the two nations in 2000 and 2007.
He also warned Washington to be aware of Pyongyang's strategy to drive a wedge between the conservative South Korean government and the Obama administration.
"I think the United States is well aware that progress in US-North Korea ties won't be made without cooperation from Seoul," Lee stressed.
"South Korea is the only country that really cares for the North and can provide help with affection. North Korea must realise this fact," he added.
First Published: Jan 31, 2009 09:23 IST