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South Korea remains open to dialogue with DPRK

01-04-2011 08:47 BJT Special Report:Tension Soars on Korean Peninsula |

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South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says the door to dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea remains remains open, but he warns that provocative actions by the DPRK will not be tolerated.

Lee Myung-bak says they must treat the November 23rd shelling of Yeonpyeong Island with the same seriousness that the United States treated the September 11th attacks in 2001.

He says peace cannot be obtained without a price.

Lee Myung-bak, South Korean President, said, "We cannot let DPRK covet even an inch of our territory. Any provocation that would pose a threat to our lives and property will not be tolerated. Such provocations will be met with stern, strong responses."

His comments come two days after Pyongyang called for an end to confrontation and asked for dialogue.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula were heightened after DPRK artillery fire near Yeonpyong Island killed four people.

South Korea's defense chief was changed after the event, a push for additional troops and weapons on Yeongpyeong, and a series of military drills were held in the region.

But some analysts believe the possibility of war between the two sides was "extremely low", despite speculation that a possible third nuclear test by the DPRK this year is high.

Lee Chung-Min, Graduate School of Int's Studies, Yonsei University of South Korea, said, "There is a possibility, although nobody knows for sure, of a third nuclear test. That's always a possibility in 2011. But as you know, 28-thousand American forces stationed here in the ROK. So the possibility of war in the Korean Peninsula is extremely low in 2011 although as I said, North Korea will continue to push and provoke South Korea from time to time."

Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. envoy on the DPRK, will visit South Korea, China and Japan from January 3rd to 7th to discuss reviving the six-party talks.

Bosworth's upcoming trip is expected to help fine-tune the opinions of the countries concerned.



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