S. Korea president calls on north to renounce nukes

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South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak Monday called on North Korea to renounce nuclear weapons, saying Pyongyang would be invited to next year's nuclear security summit if it agreed to do so.

"This is an official proposal to North Korea," Lee told a joint press conference here with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"North Korea must say it will renounce nuclear weapons. When it has promised to do so, then we shall be able to issue an invitation" to next year's nuclear security summit taking place in South Korea, Lee said.

South Korea had earlier said the North should first apologise for recent military provocations in order to be invited to the summit.

Lee was in Berlin at the start of a week-long visit to Germany, Denmark and France aimed at cementing ties ahead of the introduction, next month, of a sweeping free trade pact between his country and the European Union.

Under the pact, the two sides will axe 98 percent of customs duties within five years, apart from those on a few Korean farm products.

At the last nuclear security summit, held in Washington in April 2010, 47 world leaders agreed to lock up the world's most vulnerable nuclear materials within four years to prevent terrorists from setting off a global "catastrophe."

Earlier Monday Lee went for a walk-about at the Brandenburg Gate, a monument in the centre of the German capital which, because of its setting right on the Berlin Wall, used to symbolize the division of the Germany between East and West during the Cold War. Germany was reunified in 1990.

© 2011 AFP

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