President Lee Myung-bak stressed Sunday that the two Koreas should renew their relations through genuine dialogue, saying this year is an appropriate time for the communist neighbor to change its course.
“South Korean people think that there should be a real change in South-North Korean relations,” Lee said after a mountain-climbing session with reporters to mark the third anniversary of his inauguration that falls on Friday.
Lee reiterated that “this year is an appropriate time for North Korea to change itself” after years of heightened inter-Korean tensions, and said that Seoul is open to talks with Pyongyang including a summit-level dialogue.
“I would like to give North Korea the message that we are always open (to talks) and (it has) a good chance this year,” he said.
The nuclear-armed North plans to declare itself a “great, powerful and prosperous” nation in April 2012, the centenary of the birth of the country’s founder Kim Il-sung. North Korea watchers say Pyongyang is apparently rushing to maximize its military arsenal by the deadline, and it would become more difficult to denuclearize the communist nation through diplomacy after the symbolic assertion.