S Korea's Lee presses N Korea ahead of defense talks

February 1, 2011 05:30

SEOUL, South Korea  — South Korea's president urged North Korea to show responsibility for two deadly attacks last year, ahead of looming defense talks between the divided countries.

Lee Myung-bak also said in a televised panel debate Monday he can meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Il if the North changes its behavior and exhibits sincerity.

Lee said that North Korea has a "good" chance to show that it's willing to change its behavior.

The Koreas have agreed to hold a preliminary meeting to prepare for higher-level defense talks aimed at easing hostility on the peninsula, though they haven't set a date for the meetings.

Tension spiked after the North's artillery bombardment of a South Korean island in November and the sinking of a warship last March.

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