South Korean president calls for inter-Korean talks on arms reduction

Other News Materials 15 August 2009 06:58 (UTC +04:00)

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called on Pyongyang Saturday to begin inter-Korean talks on reduction of conventional weapons and the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, Xinhua reported.

"If the South and the North reduce their arms and troops, they will be able to save enormous amounts of money and this will also help them develop their economies. Now is the time for the South and the North to meet and discuss such issues," Lee said in a speech marking the country's liberation from Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule.

"I sincerely call on the North government this time. Nuclear weapons do not ensure the North's security, but only make its future more difficult," the president said in his message to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Lee said Seoul will make active efforts to support Pyongyang's economic conditions if Pyongyang decides to give up its nuclear weapons.

The two Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended only with the armistice, not a peace treaty.

"I make it clear that our government is ready to discuss and work with North Korea over any issue between the two Koreas at any time and at any level," he said.

The president also addressed domestic issues in his speech.