South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said on Wednesday the nuclear crisis on the peninsula must be tackled by negotiation, but chances of international talks are slim because of a gulf between the parties involved, and a lack of pressure on an emboldened North Korea.
Lee, who has vowed a tough stance against any further attack by the North, also called for fresh dialogue between the rival Koreas, saying a hardline military policy alone by Seoul will not ease the tension.
Six-party talks aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear work, which the North walked out of two years ago, were the only available forum to end the North’s nuclear programme in return for economic aid and diplomatic recognition, Lee said at a policy briefing by the Foreign Ministry.
“I think removal of the North Korea nuclear programmes should be achieved through six-party talks next year,” he said.
Lee’s aim is seen as unreachable by analysts who say the North has no reason to make big concessions right now.