SEOUL - South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday said North Korea should face reality and consider bringing about a "transformation", adding that Seoul will monitor changes in the secretive North.
Lee's comments were included in a televised speech to mark Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule from 1910-1945, and follow signs that North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jong-un, may be planning to carry out reforms.
Lee also urged North Korea to adhere to UN resolutions aimed at deterring Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
"Pyongyang has also come to a situation where it has to look straight at reality and consider a transformation," Lee said, apparently referring to the reclusive North's struggling economy, which has been in decline for years and is unable even in years of good harvests to feed its 24 million people.
"We will carefully watch for the possible changes," Lee added.