S. Korea ready for talks with North provided not provoked

Posted By: Anita Nair
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Seoul, Jan 3 (ANI): South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has said that his country is willing to talk to North Korea over the recent tensions, but added that "any provocation" by Pyongyang will not be tolerated.

"I remind the North that the path toward peace is yet open. The door for dialogue is still open. If the North exhibits sincerity, we have both the will and the plan to drastically enhance economic cooperation together with the international community," Xinhua quoted Lee, as saying.

He also said that the North must discard "nuclear weapons and military adventurism," and work sincerely toward establishing peace and cooperation in the region.

"Any provocation by the North Korea that would pose a threat to our lives and property will not be tolerated. Such provocation will be met with stern, strong responses," Lee added.

Earlier this week, North Korea had called on Seoul to come forward for a dialogue, saying both countries should end their hostilities.

Three main North Korean newspapers including the Rodong Sinmun had said in a joint editorial that: "Confrontation between north and south should be defused as early as possible."

"Active efforts should be made to create an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation between north and south by placing the common interests of the nation above anything else," the editorial added.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula were heightened after South Korea and Pyongyang exchanged artillery fire near Yonphyong Island on November 23 last year, which resulted in the death of four South Koreans. Recently, Seoul had also conducted a series of military drills. (ANI)

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