NK to feel pressure from Jasmine Revolution: Lee
President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday that the ongoing revolts in the Arab world may not have an immediate impact on North Korea, but the reclusive nation will feel mounting pressure by such bottom-up protests.
Lee, who embarked on a week-long trip to three European countries Sunday, strove to make the most of his first stop in Germany by emphasizing the measures that the North needs to take to resume dialogue.
Later, the President proposed that South Korea team up with Germany to set up a joint advisory group for unification of the two Koreas at a meeting with former German officials.
“North Korea is a closed nation and people are not allowed to have access to information there,” Lee said in an interview with local daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “For these reasons, it will be difficult for the revolts in the Middle East to have a direct impact on the North at the moment.”
From last December when the anti-government protests erupted in Tunisia, a series of revolts swept the Arab world. This led to regime change in Tunisia and Egypt. Anti-government protests are continuing in some countries, while a civil war has broken out in Libya.
Lee said the regional domino effect is unlikely to have a major impact on North Korea at the moment.
During the interview, he also said Seoul will take corresponding measures if the North commits further attacks against South Korea.
This will influence North Korea’s future behavior, he added.
Lee made the remarks hours after calling on Pyongyang to take concrete measures on denuclearization.
His aides said these measures could include the return of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to the nuclear sites there and an announcement to end its enriched uranium program.
If the North shows its sincerity on denuclearization, Lee said, he was willing to invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to the Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Seoul in March next year.
Despite the proposal, the President showed few signs of backing off from his position on North Korea’s attacks.
He demanded North Korea offer an apology for the sinking of the warship Cheonan and the artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island last year.
The sinking of the Cheonan near the disputed waters in the West Sea last March took the lives of 46 sailors. The artillery attack in November killed four South Koreans, including two civilians.
After wrapping up his schedule in Berlin, Lee and his aides headed to Frankfurt. He is scheduled to hold a meeting today with German businessmen, and meet with Koreans living in the city.