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(photo credit: AP)
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called Tuesday for strong sanctions against Iran to stem its nuclear development, saying ties between Teheran and North Korea raised concerns about further proliferation.
Livni said Israel supported international diplomatic efforts aimed at persuading Iran to halt its nuclear program.
"The next step should be real strong sanctions against Iran," she told a news conference in Seoul, where she was making the first-ever visit by a top Israeli diplomat to South Korea since the countries established relations in 1962.
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Livni also expressed support for a UN resolution sanctioning North Korea after its October nuclear test, and said contacts between Pyongyang and Teheran on weapons development were also of concern.
"The last thing that we would like to see is proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and cooperation between these kind of states to achieve these weapons," she said.
North Korea is known to have sold missiles to Iran. Although North Korea's publicly acknowledged nuclear weapons program uses plutonium, Iran's is based on uranium. Teheran claims it has the right to develop a nuclear capability for power generation.
Meanwhile, Livni also said Israel supported other countries' contributions to international peacekeeping forces in Lebanon after last year's war against Hizbullah.
South Korea has pledged 350 troops set to be deployed to Lebanon later this year. Livni stressed that the outside forces wouldn't be caught in a crossfire with IDF troops.
"Israel will cooperate with any state that will send forces in order to be helpful," she said. "The mission of the international forces is to fight Hizbullah, not Israel."
Livni met earlier Tuesday with South Korean Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook and Foreign Minister Song Min-soon, and she called for the countries to deepen their economic ties.
"We have to work more in order to enhance and strengthen the ties and the relationship," Livni said.