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Lee visits New York to attend U.N. assembly

President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday arrived in New York to attend the United Nations general assembly and the U.N. high-level meeting on nuclear safety.

Lee received a World Statesman of the Year Award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith partnership of corporate and spiritual leaders that seeks to promote peace, and had dinner with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Lee is scheduled to give a keynote speech to the U.N. General Assembly, in which he will pledge to play a bigger role for international peace, security, democracy, human rights and sustainable development, and present his vision for an “ecosystemic” development. Korea is set to host the second Nuclear Security Summit, the largest meeting of world leaders initiated by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010, in April next year.

Lee will also hold summit talks with Japan’s new Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko to discuss progress in negotiations for a Korea-Japan free trade agreement, efforts to denuclearize North Korea, resume the six-nation talks and greater bilateral exchanges.

The two leaders will also speak about Korea’s recent proposal for bilateral talks on the issue of sexual enslavement of Korean women by Japan’s World War II military, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae said. The proposal was made last Thursday after Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled it unconstitutional for Seoul to not take any action on behalf of the victims, who demand compensation and an apology from Japan.

On Thursday, Lee will give a keynote speech at the U.N. high-level meeting on nuclear security, in which he will propose expansion of atomic power plants for climate control and underscore efforts to secure safety in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in March.

Lee is slated to hold summit talks with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, who took office in July, before flying over to Seattle for a meeting with Korean residents in the evening.

Lee will hold a breakfast meeting with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates before leaving Seattle on Friday before returning home on Saturday.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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