Seoul: South Korea`s President Lee Myung-Bak has expressed willingness to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, despite this week`s shelling by the communist state which raised tensions on the peninsula.
"I`m always ready to meet with Chairman Kim Jong-Il," Lee said in an interview with the BBC yesterday in Davos, where he attended an economic forum.
His office released a transcript today.
"However, if we meet, we have to engage in fruitful dialogue and hold enough discussions on the North Korean nuclear issue," Lee said.
"When we get into a situation where (such a summit) may be helpful for peace on the Korean peninsula and the settlement of the nuclear issue, there is no reason why I can`t meet him, even within this year."
North Korea yesterday staged a second day of live-fire artillery exercises near its tense sea border with South Korea, ignoring criticism from Seoul and Washington.
Seoul`s military reported no shelling today as of mid-morning.
But Yonhap news agency said the North was carrying out ground, sea and air military exercises.
The agency, quoting a military source, said air force jet fighters were staging a combat exercise. South Korean aircraft -- in their customary response -- scrambled in a counter-manoeuvre.