South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is calling on North Korea to end its nuclear program.

Mr. Lee made his comments in a speech Saturday marking the anniversary of the Korean peninsula's liberation from Japanese rule in 1945.  He said nuclear weapons do not guarantee the North's security, but only make the future more difficult.

He also said both Koreas should work on reducing conventional weapons.

Mr. Lee added that if Pyongyang gives up its nuclear program, South Korea will offer it new economic help.

North Korea faces increasing pressure to return to six-party talks on ending its nuclear program.  The U.S. and four other nations - China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea - want North Korea back at the bargaining table.

Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test in May.

North and South Korea have remained technically at war since 1953, when the Korean War ended in an armistice that has never been replaced with a peace treaty.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.