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2007/01/02

[轉載] Kim Dae-jung Optimistic About Inter-Korean Summit in 20

 

[韓國時報]

Kim Dae-jung Optimistic About Inter-Korean Summit in 2007 By Lee Jin-woo Staff Reporter http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200701/kt2007010217364410230.htm Former President Kim Dae-jung said Tuesday that he sees a possibility for an inter-Korean summit between President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il this year. ``The possibility of an inter-Korean summit is greater than ever, as Roh has expressed his willingness to meet his North Korean counterpart anytime, anywhere,’’ Kim, 2000 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said in a radio interview. Kim met with the North Korean leader in Pyongyang in June 2000 for the first-ever inter-Korean summit. At that time, Kim Jong-il promised to make a return visit to Seoul, but he has yet to keep that promise. The former president stressed the need to hold the summit, urging the North to show a more active attitude. He said any progress in inter-Korean relations should not be interpreted politically ahead of this year’s presidential election slated for Dec. 19. Kim made it clear that he would stay away from politics to avoid influencing the elections. ``I’m too old to be directly involved in domestic politics. I just wish to contribute to the two Koreas’ peaceful unification,’’ he said. Last year the former president had to postpone a scheduled visit to Pyongyang twice because of opposition parties’ claim that the trip would influence the May 31 local elections. Kim’s trip was initially scheduled for mid-April, but he had to postpone it until the end of June. The North Korean missile issue prevented Kim’s visit in June. Lee Su-hoon, chairman of the presidential committee on the Northeast Asian cooperation initiative, said the North should take steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons program as a precondition to holding the inter-Korean summit. ``President Roh has always been willing to hold an inter-Korean summit,’’ Lee said in a radio interview. ``However, to proceed with another inter-Korean summit, it’s very necessary for us to get a more favorable opinion from the international community.’’ Lee said he expects the six-party talks would resume in the near future, mentioning top South Korean diplomats’ recent trips to related countries. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Song Min-soon is now on a four-day trip to the United States. Song plans to meet with his U.S. counterpart, Condoleezza Rice, and other ranking officials from the White House and the Pentagon to discuss bilateral issues, including the six-party talks. He returned from a two-day visit to Tokyo last week. ``I hope the nuclear disarmament talks will resume by the end of the month. Otherwise, they will lose momentum,’’ Lee said. Pyongyang returned to the nuclear negotiations following its underground nuclear test on Oct. 9, but the China-hosted talks ended last month without any significant progress. things@koreatimes.co.kr 01-02-2007



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