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S Korea seeks N Korea disarmament progress next year

SEOUL, South Korea  — South Korea's president said Wednesday that urgent progress must be made next year in dismantling North Korea's atomic weapons program ahead of a key anniversary that could spur Pyongyang to bolster its nuclear capabilities.
President Lee Myung-bak said diplomats must quickly persuade the North to abandon its nuclear aspirations because Pyongyang is pushing to create a "powerful, prosperous nation" by 2012. The year is the 100th since the birth of Kim Il Sung, the revered guerrilla fighter-turned-political leader who founded the communist state in 1948 and the father of current leader Kim Jong Il.
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