Seoul, Beijing can conclude FTA in 2 years: Lee
Ongoing free trade talks with China can be completed within two years, which can open new economic opportunities, President Lee Myung-bak said in an interview with an American news channel that aired on Saturday.
Lee said in the CNBC interview if talks make headway and the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) is reached, Japan, which is also engaged in open trade talks, can become part of the pact.
He said such an arrangement can actually speed up the FTA negotiations, since two countries will be able to reach an understanding more quickly than three countries.
The chief executive who ends his single five-year term in office early next year claimed an FTA between the northeast Asian countries will benefit all sides and help revive the global economy.
Lee said that while there was some political opposition to Seoul reaching a FTA with the United States, there should be no such obstacles if a pact is signed with Beijing. He said that a FTA with China could also help inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation.
The president, meanwhile, reiterated that if North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons development program, South Korea will be willing to offer extensive support so it can open its doors to the outside world and build up its economy.
On developments taking place in the eurozone and in Greece in particular, the president said that South Korea will be affected by such developments, but the fallouts will be limited because the country maintains strong economic fundamentals. (Yonhap)