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Lee says there is path to break impasse with N. Korea

All Headlines 15:31 August 12, 2011

SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak said Friday there could be a breakthrough in the impasse with North Korea, stressing that just because relations are difficult now does not mean there is no way to improve them.

"The South and the North are still in difficult" relations, Lee said during a meeting with members of a presidential advisory panel on unification. "However, that does not mean there is no path. I think there is a path even at a very difficult time."

Lee, however, cautioned against interpreting the remark as meaning that something may be going on between the two sides in secret, saying that instead he means he has seen difficult problems get resolved at times when there appeared to be no solution and that he believes inter-Korean ties will be no exception.

Relations between the two Koreas have been tense since Lee took office in early 2008 with a pledge to link aid to the North with progress in international efforts to rid the communist nation of its nuclear weapons programs.

Their ties frayed further after the North's two deadly attacks on the South last year.

However, inter-Korean tensions have shown signs of easing in recent weeks after the chief nuclear envoys of the two Koreas held rare denuclearization talks last month after Pyongyang accepted a key South Korean demand for restarting six-party nuclear talks.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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