The 31-year-old veteran of two World Cups went public with his decision after Korea's 8-0 win over Taiwan all-but guaranteed the nation a place at next year's AFC Asian Cup finals in South East Asia.
''I wasn't going to play in the 2010 World Cup anyway, I want to give the younger players a chance to gain more experience,'' the FC Seoul player said.
''I talked to coach Pim Verbeek after the match with Taiwan last month and he gave his consent.'' Lee made his international debut in 1999 against Brazil and played 51 times for his country, scoring three goals.
His last appearance was as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Iran on September 2 and he said his team mates could collect the necessary point to secure qualification for next summer's continental competition without him.
''As we have virtually qualified for the tournament, this is the proper moment to step out,'' he said on the Asian Cup's Web site.
''I want to focus on helping my club FC Seoul win the K-League.'' The Asian Cup finals will take place in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam from July 7-29, 2007.
Reuters PM DB1131