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North Korea

Departing South Korean president warns of isolation for North Korea over recent nuclear test

  • 8f6081cfcccabf05290f6a7067000f7f.jpg

    In this Feb. 16, 2013 image made from video, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, waves as he attends a statue unveiling ceremony at Mangyongdae Revolutionary School in Pyongyang, North Korea on the anniversary of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's birthday. (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video) TV OUT, NORTH KOREA OUT (The Associated Press)

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    A South Korean activist holds North Korean flags before releasing them with huge helium balloons during an anti-North Korea rally denouncing North Korea's third nuclear test at the Imjingak Pavilion near the border village of the Panmunjom (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. They released 200,000 propaganda leaflets across the border to denounce the North Korea's third nuclear test and late leader Kim Jong Il's birthday on Saturday. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) (The Associated Press)

South Korea's outgoing president warns North Korea has pushed itself further into a corner with its recent nuclear test.

President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday in his farewell address that North Korea will only face international sanctions and isolation if it hangs on to its nuclear and missile programs.

South Korea has pressed for tighter U.N. sanctions on North Korea since Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test last week. North Korea defends the underground blast as an act of deterrence against U.S. hostility.

Lee leaves office next Monday. The relations between the two Koreas have frayed badly during his single, five-year tenure.

His successor, Park Geun-hye, has called for reopening dialogue with Pyongyang but also remains firmly opposed to North Korea's nuclear program.