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'Seoul won't flinch from tough approach towards North Korea': South Korean President


October 31, 2011 - Seoul

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has said he would not back off from his tough approach on North Korea for the sake of political gain, as he heads into his final year his single five-year term in 2012.

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, 69-year-old Myung-bak said his nation would maintain its principle of offering North Korea a route to peaceful co-development if Pyongyang drops its nuclear program.

"I don't intend to approach North Korea issues out of any political motives," the paper quoted Myung-bak, as saying.

"We're open to economic cooperation with North Korea as long as the North gives up its nuclear ambitions," he added.

Myung-bak, the former Hyundai executive-turned-politician, however, talked of a consistent approach to the North and called on Pyongyang to make "strategic decisions to bring peace on the Korean peninsula."

According to the paper, with Myung-bak heading into the final year of his office, there has been speculation of concessions to the North and possibly even an attempt to set up a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

Meanwhile, Myung-bak, who recently met Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, acknowledged that Beijing was trying to steer North Korea away from nuclear development and provocation against South Korea.

He said China should continue to use its influence over Pyongyang.

ANI

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