(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with Lee's remarks; CHANGES headline; ADDS photo)
SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak said Monday the Iranian and North Korean nuclear standoffs are not on the agenda for the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit, days after Pyongyang denounced the event as "an intolerable grave provocation" against it.
Lee made the remark during a visit to the organizing committee of the March 26-27 summit expected to draw about 50 world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, to discuss bolstering international safeguards and preventing nuclear terrorism.
Obama hosted the first summit in 2010. Other leaders expected to attend next month's summit include Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
North Korea sees the gathering as part of Seoul's attempt to increase international pressure over its nuclear ambitions. Last week, Pyongyang denounced the upcoming summit as "an unpardonable crime" and "an intolerable grave provocation" against it.
"The Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues are not among the main topics for this meeting, though some countries may issue statements or make remarks," Lee said during the meeting with organizing committee officials.
Lee stressed that South Korea's hosting of the event is meaningful because the country is under "direct nuclear threats" from across the border, and the North Korean nuclear issue has become a global problem.
"Unlike other international events, this is for the sake of humankind and peace," Lee said. "This is related to every member of the 6 billion global population."
Lee made the case for atomic power, saying that South Korea has become on par with other global nuclear energy powers like Japan, France, Russia and the United States in nuclear technologies.
"Atomic power plants cannot but play a central role until renewable energy technologies become economically feasible and used more widely," he said.
Lee also instructed officials to unite their strength to successfully host the summit and make sure to minimize any inconveniences the event causes to citizens.
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