Lee Myung-bak had pledged he would not tolerate a nuclear armed North Korea and accused the outgoing president of throwing too much cash at the North and getting nothing in return. That tough talk was left out of his address today and instead said economic reform is the key to bringing peace to the peninsula. Lee said advancing the economic situation of North Koreans will advance reunification and wants to raise the per capita income of North Koreans to $3,000 dollars in ten years. That's an ambitious goal. North Korea's current per capita income is estimated to be less than $1,000 dollars. Lee's administration says this can be accomplished by helping Pyongyang receive aid from international institutions. Unlike the previous administration, North Korea will no longer get a free ride says this South Korean official. But just the fact that Lee is considering engaging Kim Jong Il has stirred controversy amongst politicians. this party official preaches flexibility in dealing with Kim. The debate taking place has not brought reaction from Pyongyang.
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