Korean Merger is "Inevitable": South's President

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday said it was only a matter of time before his country and longtime foe North Korea are reunified, Agence France-Presse reported.

"We are the only divided nation in the world and it is inevitable that we (will) come to peaceful reunification at some point," Lee said to journalists during a trip to Norway.

"Nuclear weapons or military might is not a way for North Korea to overcome the current problem," the president continued, calling on the Stalinist state to accept denuclearization.

The North and South have never formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War. An armistice agreement remains in place.

Meanwhile, the ex-commander of U.S. military forces in South Korea on Thursday advised the South to bolster its antimissile capabilities in case of a fresh North Korean attack, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Two 2010 North Korean attacks killed 50 South Koreans. Pyongyang has yet to apologize for either strike while South Korea has revised its military posture to permit quicker retaliation should the North attack again.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "has made clear that he will continue to develop nuclear weapons capabilities and increase even more, and continue to develop ballistic missiles," retired Gen. Walter Sharp told Yonhap during a trip to the South Korean capital. "If you look at history, especially in the last four or five years, the indication would be that there's probably more coming." 

[Kim] has continued to advocate the military first policy" of his father and deceased predecessor, Kim Jong Il, Sharp said. "Considering the rhetoric that has come out from North Korea, military threats have been very strong since he's been the leader of North Korea."

The former four-star general said even though North Korea failed in its most recent assumed long-range ballistic missile test in April, it was essential for South Korea to enhance its own missile forces.

Seoul and Washington are reportedly close to wrapping up negotiations for a new bilateral accord that would permit the South to produce ballistic missiles with longer ranges than those currently allowed. The South also apparently intends to spend $2.3 billion over the next half decade on additional ballistic missiles and additional armaments.

"I think South Korea is moving in the right direction of increasing missile capability," Sharp said. "I think it should be continued and be increased even more."

September 13, 2012
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South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday said it was only a matter of time before his country and longtime foe North Korea are reunified, Agence France-Presse reported.