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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

S. Korea Says North Won't Abandon Nukes

February 15, 2013

by VOA News

Outgoing South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is warning that dialogue and sanctions will not be enough to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Speaking at a meeting of high-level dignitaries in Seoul, President Lee said only a change in North Korean leadership could remove the threat of a nuclear-armed Pyongyang.

The French news agency quoted Lee as saying that South Korea can "help change the North Korean people, if not the North Korean regime."

The comments come after North Korea conducted its latest nuclear test Tuesday, drawing sharp rebukes from the international community and raising tension on the Korean peninsula.

President Lee, who has taken a firm stance on North Korea, is set to leave office in 10 days. He will hand power to President-elect Park Geun-hye, who has promised greater engagement with Pyongyang.

South Korean officials tell the Yonhap news agency that Seoul is considering its own sanctions on North Korea in response to the test. The sanctions would be in addition to those being discussed at the United Nations Security Council, which has already unanimously condemned the test.

North Korea is already under tough U.N. sanctions banning it from conducting nuclear or missile tests. It has disregarded the bans, and vowed to continue launching missiles and carrying out tests it says are aimed at what it calls its "arch-enemy," the United States.

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