Monday, November 17, 2008

South Korea would welcome Obama meeting with Kim Jong Il

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Sunday he would "welcome" and "support" a meeting between President-elect Barack Obama and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il if Obama were to take such a step after taking office.

In an interview with CNN's Alina Cho at the Group of 20 financial summit in Washington, Lee said that when he spoke with Obama after the U.S. presidential election, Obama promised to consult with South Korea before taking any major action on North Korea.

In response to a question at a presidential debate, Obama said he would meet without preconditions during the first year of his administration with leaders of several nations whose governments have been at odds with the United States, including North Korea.

Lee told CNN he has high expectations for Obama, calling him "the right leader at the right time." He said any damage done in recent years to U.S. global leadership may be because the country relied too heavily on "hard power," and that he believes Obama will be effective in utilizing "soft power."


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