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Pres. Lee: U.S. is S.Korea’s Closest Friend

Posted February. 25, 2008 03:14,   


New President Lee Myung-bak has emphasized a stronger alliance with the United States and North Korea’s denuclearization in an exclusive interview with the U.S. magazine Newsweek.

Carrying the interview with Lee and his plans as the cover story in its newest issue, Newsweek said Korea’s new president has made it clear that the United States, not North Korea, will remain the closest friend to South Korea.

The report also likened Lee to French President Nicolas Sarkozy for their pro-American stances, calling Lee “South Korea’s Sarkozy.”

Lee said American-led U.N. forces strived to protect South Korea during the Korean War and that U.S.-style democracy and market economy have had significant influences on the country since, saying his country has learned a lot from the United States.

He also said he is determined to improve ties with Washington and that both countries need to seek future-oriented relations.

On North Korea, Lee said the two Koreas should pursue co-prosperity while keeping peace. If the North possesses nuclear weapons, he warned, it will undermine inter-Korean relations and ultimately hamper reunification.

He also ruled out holding an inter-Korean summit for political purposes, though he said such a meeting is necessary for people in both Koreas.

The report also touched on several of Lee’s key agenda, including strengthening public English-language education, foreign investment, and deregulation. It said Lee will overcome the challenges of anti-American sentiment, nationalism and the ruling minority and opposition majority structure in parliament, considering his previous achievements despite adverse circumstances.