October 25, 2008

Seoul Hopes for Economic Gains With North

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says Asian and European leaders should help him entice North Korea into demilitarizing through economic cooperation.

Addressing the Asia-Europe Meeting Saturday in Beijing where leaders of 40 nations met to discuss the global financial crisis, Lee called for their help in his efforts to link the two Koreas through natural gas pipelines and railways, Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, reported.

"North Korea's nuclear weapons are a serious threat to the whole world, as well as to South Korea," Lee told the leaders. "While persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, South Korea is promoting mutual prosperity and co-existence and measures to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula."

One way to do that, he said, was to connect South Korea to Europe via rail links through North Korea and Russia. Lee also told the summit attendees of his hopes to transport natural gas from Russia through a North Korean pipeline, which could only be accomplished with a demilitarized Pyongyang, Yonhap reported.