SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s outgoing president has warned that 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.

Lee Myung-bak

People watch a television airing a live broadcast of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's retirement speech at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday. Pic: AP.

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.

(READ MORE: South Korea: How strong is the strongman’s daughter?)

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