SKorea president open to NKorea nuclear talks

January 1, 2012 - 9:26 PM
North Korea Kim Jong Il

North Koreans bow in front of a portrait of the late leader Kim Jong Il outside a stadium in Pyongyang as people paid respects to him on New Year's Day Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. (AP Photo)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's president says he's open to the possibility of nuclear talks with North Korea but warns that any provocation will be sternly dealt with.

President Lee Myung-bak said Monday in a nationally televised speech that the Korean peninsula is at "turning point."

Lee's comments come a day after North Korea vowed in a New Year's message that it would bolster its military and defend Kim Jong Il's young son "unto death."

Lee says that if North Korea demonstrates sincerity, a new era on the Korean peninsula can be opened.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un has been installed as Supreme Commander of the military and as ruling party leader following his father's Dec. 17 death.