South Korean President Kim Dae-jung reacted to North Korea's withdrawal from a global nuclear arms treaty Friday by urging dialogue between the two sides.
"We must make the Korean peninsula nuclear free, but at the same time, we must have the patience to resolve the issue peacefully," Kim said during a forum with leaders of a women's group, according to the Yonhap news agency.
Kim emphasized that most of the world is against a nuclear-armed North Korea.
"The United States, Japan, China, Russia the European Union, the whole world is opposed to North Korea holding nuclear weapons," he said.
"The nuclear issue is tied to our life and death," Kim added. "We must resolve this peacefully through dialogue."
North Korea withdrew from the global nuclear arms control treaty on Friday, but said it had no plans to develop nuclear weapons "at this stage."
The withdrawal from the treaty could signal that North Korea plans to push ahead with building nuclear bombs, or that it wants to pressure the United States into making concessions.