South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak has called for a renewal of international negotiations to shut down rival North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
Lee, who has been involved in a tense public standoff with the North, urged a resumption next year of the currently stalled six-party disarmament talks involving the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia, and the United States.
North Korea quit the six-party negotiations, aimed at ending the North's nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and diplomatic recognition of the North, two years ago.
Tensions between South Korea and North Korea have soared this year, over incidents including North Korea's shelling
of the South's island of Yeonpyeong in November that killed four South Koreans.
North Korea has also been blamed by the United States and South Korea for the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel
in March that killed 46 sailors.compiled from agency reports